The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to overturn a gag order issued by a Planned Parenthood-linked judge preventing David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress from releasing videoed conversations he had with abortionists at a National Abortion Federation event.
Among other reasons, Daleiden contends the order is a “novel inroad” on First Amendment speech rights.
The video in question is no secret, as defense attorneys released it to the public when it was used as the basis for criminal counts filed by abortion advocates in the California state attorney general’s office against Daleiden.
The defense counsel explained it needed to be in the public if it was evidence in a criminal case.
But the judge who issued the gag order, U.S. District William Orrick III, saw it differently and found both Daleiden and his lawyers in contempt for violating his evidence-suppressing ruling.
The video was created as part of Daleiden’s documentation of the American abortion industry’s trade of baby body parts. Numerous other videos, mostly exposing Planned Parenthood and its business trade partners, were released to the public beginning in 2015.
One video reveals a Planned Parenthood executive lobbying for more pay for the body pieces of unborn babies because, “I want a Lamborghini.”
The petition argues that no federal court has ever upheld a prior restraint like Orrick’s gag order to conceal “speech of overwhelming public interest.”
Daleiden’s advocates explain, “At issue in this appeal is a gag order, a preliminary injunction imposed specifically for the purpose of hiding information from the public, precisely because the information is of such significant public interest and concern – the procurement and sale of aborted fetal body parts.”
Daleiden, in a statement released through his lawyers, said Orrick’s gag order, issued at the behest of Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation, is “an unprecedented attack on the First Amendment by a clearly biased federal judge.”
“Judge Orrick even wants to press his gag order in the California attorney general’s bogus criminal case against me – though he, NAF and Planned Parenthood insist the gag order only applies to my defense, and not to the attorney general’s bogus prosecution.”
Orrick has had a longstanding relationship with the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center in San Francisco, where he helped open and fund a Planned Parenthood clinic inside the center.
Planned Parenthood Northern California is a member in the National Abortion Federation, which brought the complaint against Daleiden, and it is named as a plaintiff against CMP and Daleiden.
A motion to disqualify Orrick still is pending.
The court filing argues that Daleiden, “in the tradition of countless undercover journalists, videotaped conversations with abortion providers in various settings.”
The release of the other videos already has “prompted a firestorm of embarrassing publicity and negative political fallout for abortion providers.”
Then NAF brought its suit, fearing what Americans may discover what its abortionists said on video.
During the brief period between the release of the challenged video and Orrick’s order that all media outlets nationwide be deprived of the evidence, WND obtained quotes from the recording.
In the censored video, Lisa Harris, medical director for Planned Parenthood of Michigan: “Our stories don’t really have a place in a lot of pro-choice discourse and rhetoric, right? The heads that get stuck that we can’t get out. The hemorrhages that we manage.”
Susan Robinson of Planned Parenthood of Mar Monte in San Jose, California: “The fetus is a tough little object and taking it apart, I mean taking it apart, on day one is very difficult.’
Talcott Camp, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Health Freedom Project: “I’m like, ‘Oh my God!’ I get it! When the skull is broken, that’s really sharp. I get it, I understand why people are talking about getting that skull out, that calvarium.”
Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America: “You know, sometimes she’ll tell me she wants brain, and we’ll, you know, leave the calvarium in ’til last, and then try to basically take it, or actually, you know, catch everything, and even keep it separate from the rest of the tissue so it doesn’t get lost.”
The filing questions whether the court made a mistake in deciding, “in conflict with decisions of the Second and Fourth Circuits and the consistent teaching of this court, that the First Amendment permits issuance of an injunction restraining the release of information of undisputed and legitimate public interest?”
The filing notes the “expose did not please abortion providers and advocates.”
“The first videos showed Planned Parenthood executives enjoying wine and salad while casually discussing how best to ‘crush’ fetuses, debating what monetary figure might suffice to induce them to do business with Daleiden’s supposed tissue procurement operation, and musing aloud about how to best keep up the appearance of legality.”
Even Orrick admitted “the immense public interest at stake” in the tapes.
“I also recognize that this case impinges on defendants’ rights to speech and the public’s equally important interest in hearing that speech,” he admitted at one point.
He argued that Daleiden waived his First Amendment rights by going to an NAF event, there was no evidence of criminal activity on the video and there was a lack of “journalistic integrity.”
Then there was the judge’s argument about danger.
“Relying on multiple layers of hearsay and speculation, the district court also held Daleiden and CMP responsible for three unsolved arsons or suspicious fires and the actions of a crazed gunman outside a Colorado abortion facility four months after the video releases,” the filing argues.
But the brief argues, “This court has never approved suppressing the publication of potentially inflammatory material to avert the possibility of violence by an insane criminal.”
The petition to the Supreme Court argues it should accept the case and “repudiate this new erosion of the freedom of speech.”
One of the most recent videos shows how an abortion “complies” with the federal ban on partial-birth abortion by checking a box on a form.
See the video:
The exposure of Planned Parenthood’s fetal-tissue trade through Daleiden’s work has caused considerable furor, with multiple states withdrawing funding.
There also have been several congressional investigations and referrals to the Justice Department for the investigation of abortion-industry figures.
The abortion industry also has fought back, claiming the videos are deceptively edited.
Orrick was appointed under the pro-abortion agenda of President Obama and remains on the case despite the fact his wife “has also posted public comments, pictured with her husband, that are supportive of Planned Parenthood and critical of these moving defendants.”
One of the CMP videos showed an official admitting Planned Parenthood sells fully intact aborted babies.
Another has Deborah Nucatola of Planned Parenthood commented on crushing babies.
“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact,” she said.
In the second video, Planned Parenthood’s Mary Gatter discussed how her compensation for organs could rise when she said, “I want a Lamborghini.”
The fifth video released shows Melissa Farrell of Planned Parenthood’s Houston clinic discussing “intact fetal cadavers”:
The seventh video has the testimony of a Planned Parenthood worker who tapped an aborted infant’s heart and saw it start beating.