Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the maker of a series of undercover videos released last year that sought to prove that the women’s health organization illegally profits by selling tissue from aborted fetuses.
In a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, officials with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its California affiliates alleged that the Center for Medical Progress broke multiple federal laws as part of its campaign, including violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly called RICO, as well as engaging in mail fraud, invasion of privacy, illegal secret recording and trespassing.
“This case is about a network of antiabortion extremists and the laws they broke in order to spread lies and harm Planned Parenthood,” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said during a teleconference with reporters Thursday. “This entire smear campaign is a fraud built on illegal acts and a web of lies.”
Laguens also repeated what Planned Parenthood has long maintained — that the organization did nothing wrong regarding its fetal tissue donation program and that the videos were edited in a way to mislead the public.
Attorneys with Planned Parenthood suggested that the lawsuit could drag on for as many as 18 months, and Laguens said she expects it to be injected into the political conversation this year as lawmakers in some states attempt to pass more abortion restrictions and the issue of reproductive rights arises as part of presidential election campaigns.
David Daleiden, project leader for the Center for Medical Progress and the primary activist behind the videos, issued a defiant statement.
“Game on,” he said. “I look forward to deposing all the CEOs, medical directors and their co-conspirators who participated in Planned Parenthood’s illegal baby body parts racket.”
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