This week, experts filed six amicus briefs with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the National Abortion Federation’s (NAF’s) preliminary injunction against the Center for Medical Progress and other defendants.
The amicus briefs were submitted by journalism scholars and journalists; constitutional law scholars; fetal tissue researchers, scientists, physicians, medical and legal ethicists, and academics; the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Feminist Majority Foundation; Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California; and Physicians for Reproductive Health.
“These briefs from leading experts provide strong support for our case and help dismantle the defendants’ bogus claims, including that they are investigative journalists protected by the First Amendment,” said Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of NAF.
Journalism scholars and journalists who work to protect and promote “high standards of ethical behavior in journalism” argue:
“By calling himself an “investigative journalist,” Appellant David Daleiden does not make it so. That is apparent when his so-called “journalistic” techniques are measured against the ethical standards that apply in the field of journalism. Applying those standards, it is evident that Mr. Daleiden’s “journalistic” techniques are grossly deficient.
The list of Mr. Daleiden’s ethical failures begins with his manipulation and distortion of his secret recordings to make it appear as if his targets were engaged in criminal activity, and then releasing some of those videos with false and sensational labels. In no way can that conduct be reconciled with journalism’s cardinal principle and purpose: reporting the truth to the public.”
According to the brief filed by constitutional law scholars:
“First Amendment speech interests are not implicated in this case because the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) waived those rights by knowingly and voluntarily signing both Exhibitor Agreements (EA) and Confidentiality Agreements (CA) at National Abortion Federation (NAF) meetings in 2014 and 2015.”
“That “incidents of harassment and violence directed at abortion providers increased nine fold” over the prior year (in the wake of CMP’s release of illegally obtained information) provides ample justification for the District Court’s protection of NAF’s freedom of association interests.”
Fetal tissue researchers and others in the medical community spoke out about the importance of fetal tissue research and how this research has been threatened by the actions of the defendants:
“The important work of amici—work that makes us all healthier—is the embodiment of this very real public interest.
But the actions of the Center for Medical Progress, Biomax Procurement Services, David Daleiden and Troy Newman have threatened that. As a result of the publishing of Appellants’ misleading videos, there have been threats to doctors and researchers involved in fetal tissue procurement and research.”
“And the past is prologue: fetal tissue research is absolutely needed today to save lives threatened by diseases, viruses, and other health afflictions.”
The briefs also provide compelling stories about how the defendants’ smear campaign is part of a continued effort to intimidate and threaten abortion providers. A brief from the Southern Poverty Law Center and Feminist Majority Foundation, explains:
“CMP’s actions fit within the same pattern of activity intended to threaten abortion providers and make them feel that they are not safe while working in their lawful professions providing constitutionally-protected medical care.”
“According to the most recent statistics from NAF, the leading source of data about anti-abortion violence, since 1977 there have been 11 murders, 26 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 185 arsons, 98 attempted bombings or arsons, 404 clinic invasions, 100 butyric acid attacks, 203 physical attacks or batteries, 4 acts of kidnapping, and 189 burglaries. There have also been 663 anthrax or bioterrorism threats, 634 bomb threats, 516 death threats or threats of harm, 561 acts of stalking, over 15,000 incidents of hate mail or harassing phone calls, and over 26,000 incidents of hate email or internet harassment.”
According to an amicus brief from Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California:
“The release of the fraudulently obtained and recklessly manipulated video tapes has caused enormous harm to Planned Parenthood, its staff, and its patients, and has threatened to jeopardize its ability to offer reproductive health care services to millions of predominantly low-income women, men and teens in America.”
“[The Defendants] compromised the security of [NAF’s] important and valued professional events when it used its fraudulently obtained access to develop relationships it leveraged to tape–secretly and without consent–its reckless videos. The Planned Parenthood clinicians who were portrayed in the videos have experienced substantial reputational and emotional harm, in addition to suffering from the increased violence and threats of violence described above, although they have not been found to have done anything wrong.”
Physicians for Reproductive Health stressed the importance of providing a safe space for medical discussions in their amicus brief:
“Meetings held by NAF are valuable because they provide a safe space for a community of people involved with abortion care, a line of medical practice that unfortunately can be highly stigmatized.”
“The level of security at the meetings allows providers to discuss the professional and personal challenges they face without the threat or fear of harassment, violence, or retaliation. This safe and secure environment also facilitates implementation of evidence-based, patient-centered abortion care.”
“We are pleased to have such diverse support from leading experts in their fields,” said Saporta. “We are confident that the Ninth Circuit will uphold our preliminary injunction, which will help protect the safety and security of our members.”
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The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers. Our members include individuals, private and non-profit clinics, Planned Parenthood affiliates, women’s health centers, physicians’ offices, and hospitals who together care for approximately half the women who choose abortion in the U.S. and Canada each year. Our members also include public hospitals and both public and private clinics in Mexico City and private clinics in Colombia.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 9, 2016
Alissa Manzoeillo, National Abortion Federation
202.667.5881, ext 219; 202.595.4395 (after hours/cell)