Judge Blocks Release|of Anti-Abortion Videos

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A federal judge Friday barred the anti-abortion group that released secretly recorded videos of Planned Parenthood officials from releasing similar videos of another abortion rights group.
     The National Abortion Federation sued the Center for Medical Progress Friday in Federal Court, accusing it of infiltrating the group’s annual meetings to film discussions on the sale of aborted fetal tissue.
     Hours after the suit was filed, U.S. District Judge William Orrick, issued a temporary restraining order to stop the anti-abortion group from releasing the recordings.
     Orrick found that members of the National Abortion Federation could be harassed if their names were immediately revealed and ordered lawyers for both sides to discuss further restrictions of the recordings on Monday.
     In recent weeks, the CMP has distributed videos of Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of fetal body parts for medical research with CMP members posing as members of a human biologics company. In one video, a Planned Parenthood executive, having lunch with the impostor-activists, describes techniques for procuring fetal body parts for research.
     The heavily edited videos inflamed anti-abortion activists across the country as well as Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Diane Black, R-Tennessee, who introduced the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015 last week, to kill federal funding from clinics that perform abortions.
     In its lawsuit Friday, the National Abortion Federation says the CMP created a fake company called Biomax Procurement Services and signed confidentiality agreements agreeing not to film meetings or discussions at the federation’s headquarters. The federation claims the CMP’s ploy was designed by co-defendant David Daleiden, who later told Fox News that Biomax Procurement Services “was a bogus company that misrepresented its identity” to film the meetings.
     National Abortion Federation president Vicki Saporta said in a statement that the lawsuit was filed to protect the safety of its members.
     “(Their) 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.
     Last week, a state court judge temporarily blocked the CMP from issuing undercover recordings of a Placerville, Calif.-based company that provides fetal tissue to medical researchers. The center filmed three StemExpress executives at a restaurant in May discussing similar topics as the Planned Parenthood videos.
     StemExpress sued to stop the videos from being released, accusing the CMP of violating wiretap laws and invasion of privacy.
     The CMP called the StemExpress lawsuit “meritless litigation to cover-up this illegal baby parts trade.”
     Aside from protecting the confidentiality of employees, Saporta said, the lawsuit is aimed at protecting other abortion rights groups from death threats and violence.
     “We can expect similar threats against providers whose names and identities are revealed in future videos and releases from CMP,” said Saporta in a statement. “That is why it is so important for us to get a temporary restraining order.”
     Along with banning the undercover videos, Orrick temporarily denied release of plaintiff’s meeting dates, locations and employee names.     
     The CMP issued a statement in response to the lawsuit and ruling Friday, saying it follows all applicable laws during its investigative journalism work.     
     “The National Abortion Federation is a criminal organization that has spent years conspiring with Planned Parenthood on how to violate federal laws on partial-birth abortion and fetal tissue sales,” the CMP said.
     The National Abortion Federation asks that the CMP be preliminarily and permanently enjoined from publishing any recordings or confidential information attained from its annual meetings. The fake company BioMax Procurement Services is also named as a defendant.
     The federation is represented by Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco.

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