A federal judge issued a final judgment in Planned Parenthood v. Center for Medical Progress (CMP) on Thursday. The abortion giant sued CMP in January 2016 after CMP published a series of videos showing PP directors negotiating the sale of baby body parts for profit in violation of state and federal laws. Planned Parenthood sought millions of dollars in compensation for security upgrades after CMP investigators David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were able to easily gain entrance to abortion industry conferences and other meetings. Daleiden and Merritt were named in the lawsuit, as were CMP founding board members Albin Rhomberg and Troy Newman.
The case went to trial last fall. Jurors heard six weeks of testimony, but were not permitted to watch footage of the videos that are the subject of the lawsuit. The jury awarded $2 million in damages to Planned Parenthood, including $870,000 in punitive damages for violating federal racketeering (RICO) laws enacted to eliminate organized crime and drug cartels. This is not the first time the abortion lobby has attempted to paint pro-lifers as racketeers. Joe Scheidler, often called the father of the pro-life movement, was sued by the National Organization for Women under RICO. NOW won the initial round, but Scheidler ultimately prevailed after the Supreme Court dismissed the case.
Judge William Orrick, who used to sit on the board of an organization that houses a Planned Parenthood, confirmed the jury’s damage award and issued an injunction prohibiting all defendants from entering a Planned Parenthood abortion mill or conference for the purpose of recording videos without the consent of those being recorded.
It should be noted that Planned Parenthood never disputed any of the content in the videos. Its primary concern was repairing their image after abortionists were shown enjoying lunch as they casually talked about ripping the limbs off of fully-formed, second and third trimester babies. Part of the damages for which PP sought compensation include hiring a reputation management service to rebuild its damaged brand.
“If not for the mainstream media’s pro-abortion bias, we would be hearing howls of protest against this unprecedented use of civil lawsuits to punish those who investigate and expose wrongdoing,” said Life Legal’s VP of Legal Affairs Katie Short. “Planned Parenthood continues to claim it did nothing wrong, conveniently ignoring the fact that it stopped taking money for baby parts immediately after the first videos were released.”
Life Legal is preparing to appeal the judgment.