PP Video Trial Update: Body parts peddlers say prolifers make them “look bad”

Life Legal VP of Legal Affairs Katie Short

We are now 13 days into the trial — one day of jury selection and 12 days of presenting evidence.

What you need to know:

The jury has not yet been allowed to view the videos that are the subject of this lawsuit in their entirety. Planned Parenthood argues that the videos will be prejudicial to its case, and unfortunately Judge Orrick has ruled in their favor to date.

The key issues in the case are 1) whether the Planned Parenthood executives featured in the videos had an expectation that what they told the undercover investigators would be kept confidential, and 2) whether Planned Parenthood can recover hundreds of thousands of dollars it claims it had to spend on increased security measures following the release of the videos.

What the jury has seen and heard:

  • A brief excerpt from the Dr. Nucatola video to show that her conversation with the undercover investigators took place in a crowded restaurant with wait staff walking by every few minutes. This means she could not possibly expected this to be a confidential communication, despite the fact that she was describing in horrific detail her method of “crushing above, crushing below” the mid-section of the baby to obtain intact hearts, livers, lungs and other fetal organs to provide to fetal tissue middlemen organizations. Dr. Nucatola was PP’s director of medical services when the videos were recorded and testified that she currently does between 50 and 200 late-term abortions per month.
  • Testimony from Dr. Gatter, former medical director of PP Los Angeles and San Bernardino, saying she told the investigators she wanted a Lamborghini in exchange for aborted baby parts. After Gatter testified that she needed round-the-clock armed security because she felt “violated,” Life Legal’s Katie Short asked her what she meant by “violated.” Gatter admitted that she meant that the videos made her “look bad,” thus, there was no real need for a security guard.
  • Testimony from all PP executives shown in the videos admitting that they never lowered their voices when discussing material they claimed was “sensitive” and that they never asked the undercover investigators to keep any of the content of their conversations confidential.
  • A video of 20/20’s own undercover investigation into the trafficking of baby parts produced in 2000, which showed the tremendous profit to be made from the sale of fetal tissue and organs.
  • Testimony from defendant Albin Rhomberg, who was sued in his capacity as a board member of the Center of Medical Progress, describing a “new phenomenon” he saw outside abortion clinics that involved “collecting the bodies [of aborted babies] for sale or distribution.” Rhomberg testified that he later learned some of the babies were scalped in order to develop cures for baldness.
  • Testimony from undercover investigator Sandra Merritt about an incident during which an abortionist over-dilated a patient during a late-term abortion and “the baby just fell out.” There was no time to kill the baby prior to delivery, so he or she was born alive.
  • An audio clip featuring abortion consultant Ruth Arick, in which she advises abortionists to over-dilate patients in order to obtain intact fetal specimens. It is illegal to alter the abortion procedure for the purpose of harvesting organs. In the clip, Arick refers to the Partial Birth Abortion (PBA) ban that prohibits killing fully-formed babies as they pass through the birth canal as “the crazy PBA law.”

Who’s up next?

David Daleiden will continue his testimony this Thursday, October 31.

In addition to more Planned Parenthood personnel, David Cohen, an abortion law researcher and law professor at Drexel University is on the list of upcoming witnesses. Cohen is a member of the National Abortion Federation and will testify to the alleged history of anti-abortion activists “targeting” abortion providers—a vague term that covers a wide range of activity from the criminal to the constitutionally protected. He may also be allowed to testify to his “understanding” that there were increased threats against abortion providers after the CMP videos were released, despite the fact that not a single Planned Parenthood witness could give any details about any alleged threats received by Nucatola, Gatter, or the other PP doctors featured in the CMP videos.

Most of what PP termed “security incidents” justifying hundreds of thousands of dollars in increased security measures were phone calls and letters expressing opposition to PP’s stance on abortion. PP even cited as “harassment” letters where people wrote “Jesus loves you” and “We’re praying for you.”