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April 15, 2021

California Judge Blocks Release of Pro-Life Undercover Videos

David Daleiden
photo credit: American Life League / Flickr
Hundreds of hours of undercover footage from National Abortion Federation meetings recorded by pro-life undercover journalists with the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) were permanently blocked last Wednesday by a California judge.

District Court Judge William Orrick issued a preliminary injunction against the videos in 2015 after Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation sued the CMP for alleged violation of California privacy law, and now that injunction is permanent.

Early in the case's legal proceedings, the CMP filed to disqualify Orrick as the judge for the case, due to his close ties to the abortion industry. The motion failed, however, and Orrick refused to recuse himself.

Judge Orrick wrote that the videos "disclosed no criminal activity," but David Daleiden (who led the CMP investigation) responded last Thursday by arguing the opposite:

"What is on the footage of public conversations at abortion industry trade shows that Planned Parenthood leadership is so desperate to cover up? Our expert Dr. Forrest Smith, the country’s longest-practicing abortion provider, says it shows the quid pro quo sale of fetal body parts, abuse of patients, and infanticide–but Judge Orrick insists he sees nothing wrong with it, yet won’t let the public decide for themselves.

This decision hides the most incriminating and damning footage under the fig leaf of trade show exhibit agreements which explicitly permitted exhibitor recording. This transparent attempt to skew the law and suppress free speech to protect the worst wrongdoing must stop, and the truth must be revealed."

20 state attorneys and several activist groups filed friend-of-the-court briefs in March asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to take up the CMP case. They argued that the lower court decision will harm the First Amendment and future investigative journalism.

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