Judge Extends Ban on Anti-Abortion Videos

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A federal judge Monday kept in place an injunction against an anti-abortion group that released secretly filmed videos of Planned Parenthood and wants to release videos of another group.
U.S. District Judge William Orrick on Friday barred the Center for Medical Progress from disclosing secretly recorded videos on the National Abortion Federation. Orrick ruled just hours after the federation sued the CMP.
At a show cause hearing Monday, Orrick decided to hold that temporary ban in place until both parties present arguments at an Aug. 27 hearing.
Attorneys for the CMP on Monday argued that the scope of Orrick’s restraining order was too broad and that it should be tailored to the terms of a nondisclosure agreement CMP members signed before gaining access to the pro-choice group’s meetings.
“As time continues to march on, our clients will be releasing other videos not covered under this restraining order,” CMP attorney Brian Chavez-Ochoa said.
The federation said the CMP created a fake company called Biomax Procurement Services and signed confidentiality agreements pledging not to film meetings or discussions.
The CMP 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.
The videos, as intended, stirred up outrage from abortion opponents, including Republicans in Congress , who tried unsuccessfully Monday to introduce a bill killing funding for Planned Parenthood nationwide.
A Republican lawmaker in California introduced a similar bill Monday in the Legislature.
In one video, a Planned Parenthood executive describes techniques for procuring fetal body parts for research while having lunch with the impostor-activists. Planned Parenthood officials said the video was heavily edited to misrepresent what actually happened.
In the Monday hearing, the CMP challenged the foundation’s standing to sue it on invasion of privacy claims.
“As to the claim of privacy, the only ones that can bring that claim are the parties themselves,” said Chavez-Ochoa, referring to the people who were secretly recorded by his client. “They haven’t been named.”
The foundation’s attorney Derek Foran called the standing issue “a red herring.” He said that because the NAF was defrauded, it has the right to bring the complaint under California law.
“The entity is all about protecting the privacy of its members,” Foran said. “We believe we have standing to bring those privacy claims.”
Foran rebutted the CMP’s argument that a subpoena ordering it to disclose the secretly obtained information was imminent, as state governments and a U.S. Senate committee are investigating the sale of fetal tissue.
“They haven’t pointed to any subpoena that would compel them to provide this information,” Foran said. “They have a bunch of news articles about governors and attorney generals looking into investigating Planned Parenthood.”
The CMP objected to the NAF’s “broad request” to reveal all co-conspirators, unknown people and entities involved with the secretive recordings, claiming the request carries “troubling freedom of association implications.”
“I’m concerned about people’s privacy,” Orrick responded. “That’s one of the reasons I’m granting this restraining order, and that goes both ways, so I’ll be looking closely at that.”
Orrick asked the NAF to serve its request for discovery by Wednesday, with plans to hold a discovery hearing Friday to ensure both parties have time to digest the information before the Aug. 27 preliminary injunction hearing.
Foran is with Morrison and Foster of San Francisco. Chavez-Ochoa is based in Valley Springs.

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