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In another victory for reproductive rights, a federal judge on Friday sided with the National Abortion Federation (NAF) and blocked anti-abortion extremists — including David Daleiden — from releasing their secretly taped, heavily edited videos aimed at smearing Planned Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

This ruling lays out a shockingly deep and disturbing conspiracy to target women's health care providers. We're still beginning to see the true extent of this fraud against Planned Parenthood — but as details behind these anti-abortion activists' smear tactics come to light, it’s clear that their videos were part of a broader political agenda to ban safe, legal abortion.

The Details of the Ruling

In Friday’s ruling, a federal district court granted NAF’s request for a preliminary injunction, which blocks activists from the so-called Center for Medical Progress (CMP) from releasing secret recordings they made when they snuck into NAF’s conventions and broke confidentiality agreements they had signed.

Judge William H. Orrick laid bare the fraud perpetrated against Planned Parenthood in a sweeping 42-page order. Check out our favorite quotes from the order — along with our explanation, in layman’s terms, of how he barred these fraudsters from releasing more of their deceptive videos, and how he broke down the hypocrisies behind the videomakers’ claims.

CMP’s claim: Our videos totally caught abortion doctors saying stuff that sounds bad.

Judge Orrick’s ruling: “During the Annual Meetings, Daleiden and his associates would meet to ‘discuss our . . . strategy for . . . the project and for the meeting,’ including ‘specific strategies for specific individuals.’ The associates were given a ‘mark list’ to identify their targets. The group also picked targets based on circumstance: in one instance, Daleiden tells ‘Tennenbaum’ that it ‘would be really good to talk tonight’ with a particular doctor ‘now that she’s been drinking.’”

The judge’s point: I watched your videos and I've gone through your documents. I know that you strategically targeted individual abortion providers, trying to trick them into saying incriminating things on camera. They were marked men and women.

CMP’s claim: But if you watch the FULL videos you can see bad stuff.

Judge Orrick’s ruling: “Moreover, a report submitted by NAF of an analysis of many of the ‘highlight’ and ‘full’ videos released by CMP concluded that the ‘curated’ or highlight Project videos were ‘misleading’ and suggests that the ‘full’ videos defendants released along with their ‘highlights’ were also edited.”  

The judge’s point: Nope. The shorter videos you released to the public were so heavily edited that they are entirely misleading. And even what you claim as the “full” videos aren’t really full.

CMP’s claim: We were just trying to expose criminal activity...

Judge Orrick’s ruling: “I have reviewed those transcripts and recordings and find no evidence of actual criminal wrongdoing. That defendants did not promptly turn over those recordings to law enforcement likewise belies their claim that they uncovered criminal wrongdoing, and instead supports NAF’s contention that defendants’ goal instead is to falsely portray the operations of NAF’s members through continued release of its ‘curated’ videos as part of its strategy to alter the political landscape with respect to abortion and the public perception of NAF’s members.”

The judge’s point: Um, no. If you really were about exposing crime, you would have called the police right after recording your videos of the NAF Annual Conference in April 2014.

CMP’s claim: Our group is just a nonprofit — it's not out to push propaganda, or influence legislation, or anything political.

Judge Orrick’s ruling: “The day before the first set of videos was released, CMP put together a press kit with ‘messaging guidelines’ that was circulated to supporters. In those guidelines, defendants assert that their aim for the Project is to create ‘political pressure’ on Planned Parenthood, focusing on ‘Congressional hearings/investigation and political consequences for’ Planned Parenthood such as defunding and abortion limits.”

The judge’s point: Not so fast. Before you released your intentionally deceptive videos, you sent out instructions to the press and your supporters on how to persuade politicians to go after Planned Parenthood.

CMP’s claim: No, really — we just using sneaky tactics because we’re investigative journalists, honest!

Judge Orrick’s ruling: “Defendants engaged in repeated instances of fraud, including the manufacture of fake documents, the creation and registration with the state of California of a fake company, and repeated false statements to a numerous NAF representatives and NAF members in order to infiltrate NAF and implement their Human Capital Project. The products of that Project – achieved in large part from the infiltration – thus far have not been pieces of journalistic integrity, but misleadingly edited videos and unfounded assertions (at least with respect to the NAF materials) of criminal misconduct. Defendants did not – as Daleiden repeatedly asserts – use widely accepted investigatory journalism techniques. Defendants provide no evidence to support that assertion and no cases on point.”

The judge’s point: No again. You signed agreements designed protect abortion providers from anti-abortion extremists who harass, threaten, and even commit violence against them and then you broke them. Your “journalism” excuse won’t fly.

Timeline: Ruling is the Latest Blow to CMP Smear Campaign

To really understand the judge’s ruling, you need to know the recent history. Here are the highlights:

  • Feb. 4, 2016: The ruling came a day after Daleiden turned himself in to Texas authorities, and was processed, booked, fingerprinted, and had to post bond.

  • Jan. 25, 2016: Daleiden’s surrender was in response to a felony indictment by a grand jury related to his slanderous campaign against Planned Parenthood health centers. The same grand jury, after reviewing the evidence for two months, cleared Planned Parenthood of all wrongdoing.

  • Jan. 14, 2016: Earlier last month, Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit against Daleiden and other anti-abortion extremists, alleging they had engaged in an elaborate, illegal conspiracy in order to block women’s access to safe and legal abortion.

Bottom line: Daleiden and his co-conspirators are extremists, pure and simple. The truth is coming out, and it will take these anti-abortion extremists down. We will not let them use fraud and deception to shut down the health centers that one in five American women has relied on.


Stand With Planned Parenthood

Are you sick and tired of the relentless attacks on reproductive health care? Go to istandwithpp.org/take-action to show your support for Planned Parenthood in the face of continued attacks by anti-women’s health extremists and politicians.

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