Life Legal Cases to Watch

Ron K. (San Francisco, CA) 40 Days leader Ron K. was attacked outside Planned Parenthood in San Francisco. Life Legal learned that the assailant is a known violent activist in San Francisco and has provided SFPD with his name, but SFPD has not taken steps to apprehend him. Life Legal is preparing to file a civil lawsuit against the assailant.

Planned Parenthood v. Center for Medical Progress (San Francisco, CA) In January 2016, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and a number of PP affiliates sued David Daleiden, Sandra Merritt, Troy Newman, Albin Rhomberg, and others in federal court, for the express purpose of punishing them for their investigative work exposing PP’s role in the sale of baby parts. Three years of written discovery, depositions, and expert witness discovery succeeded in paring down Planned Parenthood’s claimed damages by over ninety-five percent. However, after a six-week trial, the jury found for the plaintiffs on most of the remaining claims and damages. The case is now in a phase of post-trial briefing, which will be followed by an appeal to the Ninth Circuit. (Daleiden and his colleague Susan Merritt are also facing criminal charges arising from their investigatory work.)

Ahn v. Hestrin (CA) In June 2016, Life Legal filed a constitutional challenge to California’s assisted suicide law on behalf of six doctors and the American Academy of Medical Ethics asserting that the Act was passed in violation of California’s constitution and that the Act removes crucial legal protections from sick and vulnerable patients that are enjoyed by other Californians. After an initial victory in the trial court, Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the George Soros-funded pro-suicide group “Compassion and Choices” appealed. The appellate court found that the plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the law. After the California Supreme Court denied review, the case returned to the trial court to determine whether the plaintiffs can allege sufficient new facts to establish their standing to challenge the law.

Stinson/Fonseca (CA) Life Legal continues our challenge to California’s brain death statute in federal court. The statute does not provide due process for family members who seek a second, independent medical opinion after their loved one has suffered a serious brain injury. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the parents of Israel Stinson, whose two-year-old son was declared brain dead by a California hospital but was subsequently found to have active brain waves. Israel Stinson died after being forcibly removed from life support in August 2016. The hospital and state then sought to have the case dismissed, claiming the toddler’s death rendered the case moot as there were no further damages. Life Legal subsequently joined the case as a co-plaintiff. Case is on appeal to the Ninth Circuit.

People v. Haag (Washington, D.C.) Red Rose Rescuer was convicted of trespassing at an abortion clinic. Her case, based on the necessity defense, is on appeal at the Washington DC Court of Appeals.

Gribbin v. Chasan (Washington D.C.) Peaceful sidewalk advocate attacked while counseling. Local police having taken no action Life Legal filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of pro-lifer.

June Medical Services v. Gee (LA) An abortion clinic and two abortion doctors are challenging a Louisiana statute requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. The state of Louisiana is cross-challenging the plaintiffs’ standing to represent the “interests” of future, hypothetical women who may seek abortions. The case will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this spring. Life Legal represents Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood medical director, and Terry Beatly, author of What If We’ve Been Wrong: Keeping My Promise to America’s Abortion King, in an amicus brief demonstrating that abortion doctors do not enjoy a “close relationship” with their patients that would allow them to represent their interests. Life Legal is also representing Concerned Women for America on a separate amicus brief arguing that women seeking abortions can bring the challenges themselves, as Jane Roe (Norma McCorvey) did in Roe v. Wade, rather than having abortion providers speak for absent women. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case on March 4, 2020.

Alabama Department of Public Health (AL) Life Legal, in conjunction with CEC for Life, sent a complaint and demand letter to the Alabama Department of Public Health (“ADPH”) seeking to revoke the abortion license issued to Planned Parenthood Birmingham because of its false advertising. The letter further demanded regular and consistent inspections of all abortion clinics in the state of Alabama to all ensure correction of any deficiencies reported by the ADPH.  ADPH declined to take any action in response to the demand.  Life Legal recently discovered that PP Birmingham no longer advertises abortion services on its website. In response, CEC and Life Legal sent another demand letter to revoke the facility’s abortion license since it is incapable of providing any abortion services.  

Alabama Board of Medical Examiners (BME): Life Legal filed a complaint with the BME and the Alabama Department of Public Health against abortionist Willie Parker regarding sexual misconduct allegations. We are asking both agencies to investigate the sexual assault claims to determine whether Parker’s patients are in danger of predatory behavior and sexual intimidation.

Two Rivers School v. Darnell et al. (D.C.)—Pro-life advocates protested the building of a Planned Parenthood mega-center adjacent to a middle school in Washington, D.C. The school district sued. Life Legal is representing the lead defendant in the case.

Cases Resolved:

Planned Parenthood v. MMB Properties (Kissimmee, FL) Victory: Planned Parenthood in Kissimmee Florida has stopped doing surgical abortions on November 1 after we filed a lawsuit to enforce a restrictive covenant prohibiting outpatient surgeries in the medical complex.

Utah v. Linton (Wasatch, UT) Father James Linton was unlawfully issued a citation for trespass while sidewalk counseling in an area open to the general public outside of the Wasatch Women’s Center. Victory: Criminal charges dismissed and lawsuit on behalf of Linton is in preparation.

People v. Blythe (San Jose, CA) College police unlawfully order pro-life advocates to leave the campus and tried to seize signs and literature, claiming that the public college was private property. Police issued citations for violating a school policy and refusing to obey a police officer. Life Legal attorneys intervened and informed the Santa Clara District Attorney that no such school policy existed, and the order of the police officer was not lawful. Victory: All criminal charges were dismissed.

United States v. Moscinski (Washington, D.C.) Red Rose Rescue case involving Father Fidelis of Priests for Life and three other defendants who entered an abortion clinic run by notorious late-term abortionist Steven Brigham. Victory: Charges dismissed at trial.