A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California awarded a permanent injunction to the National Abortion Federation (NAF) on Wednesday, ordering that undercover videos recorded by pro-life activist and journalist David Daleiden are to remain sealed.
After Daleiden and other journalists from the Center for Medical Progress recorded videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the trafficking of aborted baby body parts at NAF conferences and trade shows, NAF requested and was awarded a temporary injunction on Daleiden’s footage in July 2016.
On Feb 17, 2021, a hearing was held to determine whether that temporary injunction, which was keeping more than 200 hours of footage out of the public eye, should be made permanent. Judge William Orrick insinuated he had already made up his mind.
“The real question I’m interested in is the scope of the injunction,” he said at the virtual hearing. “I think the general arguments that the defendants have raised against injunctive relief aren’t persuasive.”
In a summary judgment issued Wednesday, Orrick ruled that not only is Daleiden barred from publishing any of the videos in question, but possession of any of the materials covered by the permanent injunction must be turned over to the court.
Daleiden’s defense team was hoping an expert report from an OB-GYN and longtime abortionist Forrest Smith, who reviewed the videos and testified that Planned Planned employees violated standard medical practices, would contradict Orrick’s own findings, in which he claimed to have seen no criminal activity. It appears Orrick had no problem finding a way to disregard Smith’s report altogether, to instead rely on his own “personal review” of the videos.
In deciding whether the videos are of “public interest,” Orrick admitted that the Center for Medical Progress’s investigations “resulted in government investigations, criminal prosecutions, and regulatory activity,” but determined once again that the videos he watched “disclosed no criminal activity.”
The Center for Medical Progress released a statement Wednesday, calling out Orrick’s hypocrisy.
“Our expert Dr. Forrest Smith, the country’s longest-practicing abortion provider, says it shows the quid pro quo sale of fetal body parts, abuse of patients, and infanticide — but Judge Orrick insists he sees nothing wrong with it, yet won’t let the public decide for themselves,” the Center for Medical Progress said. “This decision hides the most incriminating and damning footage under the fig leaf of trade show exhibit agreements which explicitly permitted exhibitor recording.”
This is not the first time Orrick has ruled against Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress, or intentionally ignored the criminal activity they captured. In Planned Parenthood’s federal civil jury trial against Daleiden in 2019, Orrick repeatedly barred the defense from making any references to the abortion giant’s procedures or tissue procurement organizations.
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