The Supreme Court Served a Major Blow to the Group Behind Planned Parenthood Sting Videos
Planned Parenthood is no stranger to both rhetorical and violent opposition, but few attacks have caused ramifications as long-lasting as the sting videos released by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress in July. The crucial women's health organization has hardly taken the blow sitting down, however, and recently won a victory in their attempts to fight back. On Friday, the Supreme Court demanded that David Daleiden, a key figure behind the videos, provide critical information about his organization that could undermine his mission and expose his bias, Newsweek reported.
The Supreme Court's decision. Daleiden, the major force behind the videos, is currently embroiled in a lawsuit brought by the National Abortion Federation, which is suing based on the claim that Daleiden's team gained access to the meetings they filmed by lying about their identities and posing as Planned Parenthood employees, according to Newsweek. After a California district judge asked Daleiden to reveal the identities of his organization's supporters and donors based on this claim in November, anti-abortion activist James Bopp Jr. filed an emergency appeal to block the request based on the First Amendment "right of association," and Daleiden's rights as a "citizen journalist," the LA Times reported.
On Friday, however, Justice Anthony Kennedy rejected these claims and refused to grant the appeal. While the Center for Medical Progress describes itself as "a group of citizen journalists dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances," their attempts to defend themselves based on this claim are undermined by their history of clear anti-abortion bias. Daleiden has previously worked with conservative individuals who have pled guilty to similarly creating undercover sting videos and has employed noted anti-abortion advocates, RH Reality Check reported in July.
"It's time to end this shell game," federal Judge William Orrick said of the videos and ensuing legal battle in a November statement, according to the LA Times.
Hope for Planned Parenthood. Although the videos have notably been determined false and the organization has been cleared of wrongdoing by multiple states, Planned Parenthood has faced numerous hurdles since the videos were released. The organization has endured attacks from conservatives who have negatively (and even falsely) spoken out about the organization and the videos, faced a hostile House Oversight Committee hearing and battled threats of their organization being defunded.
Yet Planned Parenthood is a crucial health service for millions of individuals. The organization teaches sex education to 1.6 million students every year and prevents approximately half a million unintended pregnancies annually, among other services, according to its president Cecile Richards. What's more, the organization reports it's particularly crucial for low-income women with few other options: 79% of the organization's patients have incomes at or below 150% of the federal poverty level.
The Supreme Court's decision is an encouraging indication that baseless attacks from one anti-abortion group will not be upheld in a court of law.