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David Daleiden American Life League
Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Pro-life activist fined $200k after exposing Planned Parenthood for selling baby parts

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

SAN FRANCISCO, California, September 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The lead investigator into Planned Parenthood illegal sales of aborted babies body parts has been fined nearly $200,000 by "a federal judge who helped open and run a Planned Parenthood clinic."

U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick fined David Daleiden and two of his attorneys for releasing undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood illegal activities, such as performing modified partial birth abortions on viable babies. Orrick had forbidden the latest release of investigative videos, claiming they threaten the safety of abortion industry workers — a move Daleiden described as an unconstitutional gag order against free speech and a free press.  

Orrick held Daleiden and lawyers Steve Cooley and Brentford Ferreira in contempt when a three-minute compilation video was posted on the internet. The video showed, among other things, Planned Parenthood officials conceding that abortion is murder.

“Let’s just give them all the violence. It’s a person. It’s killing. Let’s just give them all that,” Planned Parenthood of Michigan’s Lisa Harris is caught saying.

Cooley and Ferreira explained that they thought they weren’t bound by the injunction because the video was already a part of the public record.

“Judge Orrick’s contempt sanctions are unconscionable attack on (Daleiden’s) right to defend himself,” the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) Facebook page commented.

“A federal judge who helped open and run a Planned Parenthood clinic is now holding David Daleiden and his attorneys in contempt just for trying to defend him with the same videos the (California) Attorney General is using in his prosecution.”

The judge set the fine as compensation to the National Abortion Federation for lawyers, travel, employee time, and “security costs.”

“In setting this amount, I have considered the magnitude of ‘the harm threatened by continued contumacy, and the probable effectiveness of any suggested sanction in bringing about the result desired,’” Orrick wrote.

“The decision is another step forward for us,” Crystal Strait of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California said. She added that the decision allows “Planned Parenthood to focus on providing preventive and reproductive health care to close to one million Californians every year.”

The CMP made a motion to disqualify Orrick for bias. Orrick is on the board of National Abortion Federation member “Good Samaritan Family Resource Center,” and his wife  posted a picture of her husband with comments praising Planned Parenthood and denigrating the CMP.

An attorney for Cooley and Ferreira said they are appealing the contempt fine.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed 15 felony counts of illegal recording against Daleiden. The pro-life investigator countered that Becerra, like Judge Orrick, is biased. He noted that Becerra received large campaign donations from Planned Parenthood.

Similar charges against Daleiden in Texas were dismissed in 2016.

The CMP has filed an appeal and hopes the U.S. Supreme Court will hear their case.

Daleiden and fellow pro-life investigator Sandra Merritt secretly recorded conversations at abortion industry conventions to investigate criminal activity in the sale of aborted human body parts for profit.  

The 2015 videos showed Planned Parenthood officials eager to make profits off the sale of baby parts, talking about illegally modifying abortion procedures to obtain “intact” babies, and the delay of procedures to obtain “fresh” specimens to pay for luxury cars for Planned Parenthood staff.

A firestorm of controversy erupted across the nation, and Congress began hearings in an attempt to defund the abortion giant.

Fetal tissue middleman StemExpress stopped dealing with Planned Parenthood once the CMP videos were made public.

After the National Abortion Federation successfully obtained an injunction banning the undercover videos, CMP filed an appeal. CMP reasoned that they used “standard (methods) for investigative reporting” and their “goal was not to obtain money, property, goods, or services but to gather information about illegal and unethical practices.”

For the Ninth Circuit appeal, 14 Attorneys General filed a “friend of the court” brief arguing that as law enforcement they should be privy to any videos that show possible criminal activity.  

Additionally, the U.S. Reporters’ Committee filed a brief arguing that banning the CMP videos “has the potential to significantly affect the First Amendment rights of the news media and the public at large.”

Planned Parenthood’s only defense against the damning CMP videos was to deny wrongdoing and accuse the CMP of deceptively editing the videos. But several analyses concluded the videos were not deceptively edited.

Even Fusion GPS, a Democrat-sponsored, Planned Parenthood-hired research firm, confirmed that comments recorded were spoken by the subjects depicted and admitted that their best “analysis did not reveal widespread evidence of substantive video manipulation.”

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