Even U.S. Supreme Court justices are wondering why members of the National Abortion Federation are being protected by a California judge’s gag order on an undercover video in which an industry insider admits it’s “a person, it’s killing.”
The American Center for Law and Justice has confirmed the court has ordered the National Abortion Federation to respond to ACLJ’s petition for the court to review and reverse the order.
The undercover video was in a series released in 2015 by the Center for Medical Progress that show Planned Parenthood executives and other abortion-business insiders admitting they sell unborn baby body parts for profit.
The FBI is investigating Planned Parenthood, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed during a recent hearing that a senatorial probe could be the basis for eventual charges against the abortion-industry giant.
The current case is over an undercover video capturing statements from members of the National Abortion Federation.
On the video, Lisa Harris, medical director for Planned Parenthood of Michigan, says: “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.”
She continued: “Given that we actually see the fetus the same, and given that we might actually both agree that there’s violence in here, ask me why I come to work every day. Let’s just give them all the violence, it’s a person, it’s killing, let’s just give them all that.”
The video was released but then abruptly censored by a California judge who ordered it removed from public view.
ACLJ explained the order concerns a case it filed on behalf of Troy Newman, president of the pro-life group Operation Rescue and a former board member for the CMP.
The petition asks the court to review the case against CMP’s undercover investigation of the abortion industry.
“After we filed the petition in early fall, NAF informed the Supreme Court that it was not going to file a written response to the petition unless ordered to do so,” ACLJ explained. “This is a tactic sometimes used to give the impression that a case is not that important. The court, however, thought the case significant enough to warrant a written response and ordered one by December 27th.”
ACLJ said CMP began releasing the undercover videos in July 2015 “of senior abortion providers discussing practices such as profiting from the sale of baby body parts and altering abortion methods to procure fetal specimens.”
One of the Planned Parenthood executives famously stated, in arguing for higher pay, “I want a Lamborghini.”
“The videos and the abortion industry practices they uncovered shocked the American public. From the release of the first video until the present, there has been enormous public interest concerning what the videos exposed about the abortion industry,” ACLJ said.
“After the release of the first few videos, NAF (the self-described ‘professional association of abortion providers . . . includ[ing] . . . Planned Parenthood affiliates’) filed suit. A federal judge in San Francisco entered an injunction (or gag order) barring the publication of any recordings made, or confidential information learned, at two NAF conferences. A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the injunction, although one judge dissented in part.”
But that means, ACLJ said, the video makers are forbidden from voluntarily disclosing to law enforcement agencies any of the recordings from NAF meetings. That includes any information that could reveal potentially criminal activities.
“The importance of this case prompted attorneys general of 20 states to file a superb friend-of-the-court (amicus) brief in support of our certiorari petition. As the attorneys general note, the Ninth Circuit decision enabling the gag order to stand ‘sets a precedent that hampers law enforcement’s ability to effectively receive information and investigate possible civil or criminal wrongdoing’ and also ’empowers would-be wrongdoers, especially those engaged in collusion, conspiracy, or other multi-party enterprises, to shroud their actions and hamper investigations,'” ACLJ said.
WND reported in August the request was submitted to overturn the gag order issued by U.S. District Judge William Orrick III, who has longstanding links to the abortion business.
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 CMP founder David Daleiden.
The defense counsel explained it needed to be in the public domain if it was evidence in a criminal case.
But Orrick then suppressed the evidence.
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.
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, 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.”
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.
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.
One of the CMP videos shows 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 discusses 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.
Sessions’ comments about possible charges came in response this month to a question from Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., who referenced a report that the FBI asked to view the original documents used by the Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate Planned Parenthood and others, and refer them for investigation and prosecution.
The Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, which conducted a similar investigation, both referred Planned Parenthood clinics and several middleman organ procurement companies to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation and prosecution.
After referencing the baby body parts videos, Franks asked Sessions if a Senate investigation and subsequent referrals provided a sufficient basis to bring criminal charges again any “guilty party.”
“Well, it depends on the substance of those congressional findings, but they certainly provide a basis for starting an investigation and verifying the findings of the Congress, and could provide a basis for charges,” Sessions said.
Federal law allows abortion providers to recover their costs when they transfer fetal tissue to middlemen for resale to researchers, but they are not allowed to profit.