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Pro-life Activists behind Undercover Planned Parenthood Videos Suffer Legal Setback

Pro-life activist David Daleiden waits outside Superior Court in San Francisco, California. (Lisa Fernandez/Reuters)

The pro-life activists behind the undercover videos of players in the abortion industry discussing the harvesting of fetal organs will continue to fight the gag order on the rest of the videos, after the Supreme Court rejected their appeal on Monday.

San Francisco federal judge William H. Orrick III, an Obama appointee, issued the injunction in 2016 forbidding the publication of the rest of the videos and information that David Daleiden and his group, the Center for Medical Progress, learned at two annual National Abortion Federation conferences and follow-up meetings with abortion executives.

Daleiden was held in contempt of court last year after he posted one of the gagged videos showing an abortionist admitting that the fetus is “a person,” and abortion is “killing.” Other videos show abortion officials haggling over the price of fetal body parts with the activists, who posed as organ buyers.

After Orrick’s order was issued, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld it on appeal without fully reviewing the case, and the Supreme Court on Monday let it stand as well. The case will now return to the trial court, where it has been stayed since the appeal two years ago.

“The decision is disappointing but neither entirely unexpected nor fatal to the defense,” Daleiden’s lawyer Catherine Short of Life Legal Defense Foundation told National Review. “The wheels of justice often turn slowly, but we remain confident that eventually all of the CMP investigative videos will be released, the full truth about Planned Parenthood’s involvement in criminal activity will be made known, the real culprits will be brought to justice, and our clients will be completely vindicated.”

Abortion executives breathed a sigh of relief after the appeal was shot down.

“We are grateful that the Supreme Court denied the defendants’ latest attempt to circumvent the very necessary security precautions NAF has in place,” said National Abortion Federation president Vicki Saporta.

NAF sued Daleiden’s group in 2015, claiming it had doctored the videos and violated confidentiality contracts its members signed with false names. The defendants argue the contracts are an unconstitutional prior restraint under the First Amendment.

“It is a prior restraint upon speech about matters of significant public interest, including evidence of possible criminal, illegal, and unethical acts,” the American Center for Law and Justice, representing Daleiden’s co-defendant Troy Newman, stated. “The general public, law enforcement, and government bodies have a right to receive this information about the abortion industry.”

Planned Parenthood has filed a similar case, which Short said her team is “slowly but steadily dismantling.”

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