Planned Parenthood Federation of America and ten Planned Parenthood affiliates, finding themselves the subject of unwelcome scrutiny arising from Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress’s investigations and reporting, filed a fifteen-count lawsuit (including thirteen state law claims) seeking injunctive relief, millions of dollars in damages, and attorney fees.

The Human Capital Project

Daleiden is an investigative journalist who founded CMP to monitor and report on medical issues and advances, including the use of fetal tissue for research. CMP advocates for reform of unethical and inhuman medical and research practices, including the buying and selling of fetal tissue from aborted fetuses.

Daleiden developed the “Human Capital Project” to investigate, document, and report on the procurement, transfer, and sale of fetal tissue and organs for research. These practices include the for-profit sale of fetal tissue, the altering of abortion procedures to obtain fetal tissue for federally funded research, the commission of partial-birth abortions, and the killing of babies born alive following abortion procedures.

Daleiden gathered information from many sources, including medical journal articles, transcripts of legislative hearings, and websites for tissue procurement companies. He also spoke with scientists, researchers, abortion providers, and current and former tissue procurement specialists, among others. He attended seven scientific and industry conferences and had several in-person meetings under the assumed name of Robert Sarkis of BioMax.

The Videos

Beginning on July 14, 2015, CMP released a series of videos of Daleiden and Merritt’s meetings with abortion providers and bio-medical company executives. Each release consisted of a short highlight video and a longer video containing all recorded conversations.

PPFA and many of its affiliates were the subjects of CMP’s investigation. From the first hours of its release to the public, this investigation has generated a tremendous amount of attention and controversy, including considerable negative publicity for Planned Parenthood.

The Lawsuit

Consequently, Planned Parenthood filed their complaint in January 2016 and their amended complaint the following March. The latter alleges two federal claims under 18 U.S.C. § 1962 (RICO) and 18 U.S.C. § 2511 (unlawful wiretap) and thirteen state-law claims. In brief, Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants’ publication of some of these recordings has caused them harm and that Daleiden and CMP’s surreptitious recorded conversations with various PPFA and affiliate staff at these conferences, clinic meetings, and restaurant meetings were unlawful.

Planned Parenthood seeks to punish and chill Daleiden and CMP from exercising their First Amendment right to engage in effective investigative journalism. After three years of litigation, the case is finally moving to trial in September 2019.