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National Abortion Federation Files Lawsuit Against Planned Parenthood Attack Group (Updated)

Teddy Wilson

The National Abortion Federation filed a lawsuit Friday in federal court seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prohibit the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-choice organization behind a campaign to defame Planned Parenthood, from making public any video or audio recordings and materials of NAF educational meetings.

See more of our coverage on the misleading Center for Medical Progress video here.

UPDATE, August 3, 11:07 a.m.: Judge William Orrick of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted a temporary restraining order Friday night against the release of video materials obtained at meetings held by the National Abortion Federation.

The National Abortion Federation filed a lawsuit Friday in federal court seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prohibit the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-choice organization behind a campaign to defame Planned Parenthood, from making public any video or audio recordings and materials of NAF educational meetings.

CMP has published a series of videos over the past month, and the organization claims that the undercover footage shows Planned Parenthood officials engaged in the illegal selling of fetal tissue.

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Filed in the U.S. District Court, the lawsuit requests that CMP be preliminarily and permanently enjoined from publishing any recordings or confidential information from NAF annual meetings. NAF claims that any recordings or materials obtained by the CMP at official NAF meetings were done so illegally.

The lawsuit requests that CMP be prohibited from publishing or otherwise disclosing the names or addresses of any NAF members that CMP may have obtained at NAF annual meetings, and also requests that CMP be prohibited from attending and attempting to gain access to any future NAF meetings.

Vicki Saporta, president and CEO of NAF, said in a statement that the “safety and security” of the organization’s members are their top priorities.

“That security has been compromised by the illegal activities of a group with ties to those who believe it is justifiable to murder abortion providers,” Saporta said. “CMP went to great lengths to infiltrate our meetings as part of a campaign to intimidate and attack abortion providers.”

The lawsuit names CMP as a defendant as well as BioMax Procurement Services, the fake company created in order to deceive people working for Planned Parenthood and other organizations. CMP’s leader, David Daleiden, is also named in the lawsuit, as well as founding member Troy Newman, who is the president of the radical anti-choice organization Operation Rescue.

When questioned about his involvement with CMP, Newman told Rewire that he was proud of the work Daleiden has done at CMP.

“Over the past three years I have offered advice and counsel to someone who has become a very good friend,” Newman said via email.  “But this is just the beginning, we have moles and spies deep inside the abortion cartel. And at a time of our choosing, we will release more damning evidence of the abortion cartel’s illegal, ghastly, and repugnant butchery.”

When asked to respond to the questions that have been raised about whether or not CMP had broken any laws in making the videos, Newman told Rewire that it was not CMP that was breaking the law.

“We always abide by all local and federal laws, it’s Planned Parenthood that is flagrantly breaking the law,” Newman said via email.

The NAF lawsuit comes a day after a California court issued a temporary restraining order preventing CMP from releasing a video of three StemExpress officials, which was reportedly taped in a California restaurant in May. A former employee of StemExpress, which provides human tissue, blood, and other specimens to researchers, was prominently featured in a video released Tuesday by CMP.

The videos published by CMP have sparked outrage directed at Planned Parenthood from Republicans and anti-choice activists.

Republican lawmakers in several states have called for investigations into Planned Parenthood, and lawmakers across the country have compared the organization to everything from drug dealers to Nazis. State lawmakers in Texas held a hearing Wednesday to investigate the issue, even though, like those in Indiana, Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas don’t collect fetal tissue for donation in medical research.

No state or federal investigation to date has found the organization in violation of any law regarding the handling of fetal tissue, as Congress is set to vote on Monday on a proposal by Republicans to block Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding.

The lawsuits filed by NAF and StemExpress give credence to the questions that have been raised about CMP’s deceptive tactics, ideological agenda, and connections to radical and violent anti-choice activists.

Derek Foran, litigation partner with Morrison & Foerster, who is representing NAF in the lawsuit pro bono, said in a statement the he is confident the facts will show that CMP has engaged in an “extraordinary fraud” that was meant to harass abortion providers and endanger women’s access to abortion care.

“We are proud to stand with NAF and its members in the fight against anti-abortion extremists, who have smeared abortion providers and placed them in personal jeopardy, simply for ensuring the constitutional right of women in this country to make their own reproductive choices,” Foran said.

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