Women Sue Abortion Foes for Privacy

     SEATTLE (CN) — Planned Parenthood scourge David Daleiden should not be given personal information from the University of Washington’s Birth Defects Research Laboratory because it could endanger people’s privacy and safety, seven women say in a federal class action.
     Seven Jane Does and a John Doe on Wednesday sued Daleiden, an anti-abortion activist who became famous for releasing videos accusing Planned Parenthood of trying to sell fetal tissue.
     They also sued Zachary Freeman, another anti-abortion activist and Planned Parenthood opponent, and the University of Washington, from whom the men seek documents “relate(d) to the donation and transfer of fetal tissue involving the University of Washington’s Birth Defects Research Laboratory.”
     The Does say they “do not object to disclosure of the substantive records themselves, but merely seek to have their personal identifying information withheld to protect their safety and privacy.”
     The plaintiffs include three employees of the University of Washington, employees of three Washington hospitals, a Planned Parenthood employee and a former Planned Parenthood employee.
     The UW lab “collects, identifies, processes, and distributes fetal tissue for research purposes to nonprofit and academic facilities across the country,” according to the complaint.
     Some plaintiffs say they already have been harassed by anti-abortion activists due to their participation in the lab.
     “The current political climate has heightened attention and awareness of fetal tissue donation and research, including the role played by providers of medical services who facilitate tissue donation by patients who consent to donating, as well as the work of researchers who use fetal tissue in their research,” the complaint states.
     “Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress played a direct role in creating that political climate, which has resulted in investigations by numerous state attorneys general and federal congressional committees. So far, none of the investigations have found any evidence of wrongdoing. Also as a result of the same climate and attention, employees of such medical providers across the country, including in Washington State and including several individual Doe plaintiffs, have been harassed, threatened, or witnessed incidents of violence due to their possible affiliation with fetal tissue donations.”
     Freeman is director of communications for the Family Policy Institute of Washington, which wants Planned Parenthood defunded.
     Daleiden, founder of the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress, made headlines in 2015 by releasing undercover videos filmed while posing as a potential buyer of fetal tissue at a Planned Parenthood in Houston.
     Planned Parenthood sued Daleiden over the video, claiming it was deceptively edited.
     Texas prosecutors in July dismissed felony charges against Daleiden for tampering with a government record: using fake drivers’ licenses to gain access to the Planned Parenthood facility.
     A misdemeanor charge relating to the ban on purchasing human organ was dismissed against Daleiden in June.
     Daleiden responded to the new lawsuit with a statement: “Planned Parenthood and their allies have yet again stormed into federal court, this time demanding the suppression of public records about Planned Parenthood’s supply of aborted baby parts to the taxpayer-sponsored, NIH-funded fetal harvesting service at the University of Washington.”
     One of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, Janet Chung, said in a statement: “We know all too well the importance of protecting the privacy and safety of clinicians and researchers involved in controversial issues, such as fetal tissue donation.”
     The plaintiffs seek class certification, declaratory judgment that releasing their names and other personal information would violate their privacy and rights of association, and an injunction ordering that all such personal information be redacted if the records are released.
     Attorney Chung is with Legal Voice; co-counsel include Vanessa Soriano Power with Stoel Rives, and David Edwards with Corr Cronin Michelson Baumgardner & Preece, all of Seattle.

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