August 4, 2017
Life Legal Files Petition in Supreme Court Contesting Gag Order Against Daleiden
The National Abortion Federation (NAF) filed a lawsuit against David Daleiden and his Center for Medical Progress (CMP) just weeks after Daleiden released videos showing Planned Parenthood directors negotiating the sale of baby body parts for profit. NAF sought a gag order prohibiting CMP from releasing additional footage recorded at its annual conferences, fearing further public scrutiny of the unethical and illegal business practices of its members. Federal judge William Orrick, who previously served on the board of an organization that "partnered" with Planned Parenthood, issued the order. In doing so, he held that Daleiden contracted away his First Amendment speech rights when he signed the non-disclosure agreement NAF requires of all conference attendees, to avert public relations disasters like that which followed late-term abortionist Martin Haskell's unveiling of the new technique of partial birth abortion at a NAF meeting in the 1990's.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the order without fully reviewing the case, as is required when First Amendment freedoms are at stake.
The Supreme Court has held the type of gag order issued by Judge Orrick to be unconstitutional prior restraints on speech, holding that prior restraints are "the most serious and least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights." The Court has further held that the damage of gag orders "can be particularly great when the prior restraint falls upon the communication of news and commentary on current events," which is exactly what Daleiden's videos are.
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