Center for Medical Progress Found to Have Violated Multiple State and Federal Laws
New York, NY — Today, a jury empaneled by a federal district court in San Francisco found that the Center for Medical Progress, David Daleiden, and others who manufactured a discredited campaign against Planned Parenthood all broke multiple state and federal laws in their efforts to bar access to reproductive health care. The jury ruled in Planned Parenthood’s favor on each of its claims, including finding that the defendants violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and engaged in fraud, trespass, breach of contract, and illegal secret recording. The jury awarded Planned Parenthood both compensatory and punitive damages, totaling more than $2 million, for the injuries that Daleiden and his co-conspirators caused.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“We are thrilled with today’s verdict. David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress intentionally waged a multi-year illegal effort to manufacture a malicious campaign against Planned Parenthood. The jury recognized today that those behind the campaign broke the law in order to advance their goals of banning safe, legal abortion in this country, and to prevent Planned Parenthood from serving the patients who depend on us.
“They failed. Today and every day, Planned Parenthood’s doctors, nurses, and health center staff continue to serve the 2.4 million patients who rely on us for high-quality health care every year. Our doors stay open, no matter what."
Statement from Helene Krasnoff, vice president, public policy litigation & law, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“This group’s false claims completely fell apart upon closer investigation, and they’ve been exposed as part of an extreme political agenda to outlaw abortion in this country. Today’s ruling makes clear that the only people who engaged in wrongdoing are those behind this fraud, and we're glad to see that they’re finally being held accountable.”
The plaintiffs in the civil action are represented by a team of attorneys at Arnold & Porter led by Rhonda Trotter, Sharon Mayo, and Jeremy Kamras, as well as by Amy Bomse of Rogers Joseph O’Donnell, in partnership with PPFA Public Policy Litigation & Law Staff Attorney Mai Ratakonda and Beth Parker, General Counsel to Planned Parenthood Northern California, Planned Parenthood California Central Coast, and Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley.
Starting in July 2015, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) leveled a series of elaborate and false claims against Planned Parenthood. Using multiple manipulated videos, the anti-abortion group made what are now widely-viewed as discredited and debunked accusations about practices to facilitate the donation of fetal tissue for use in medical research at a small number of Planned Parenthood health centers.
In January 2016, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, along with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, and all seven California Planned Parenthood affiliates, filed this civil lawsuit in San Francisco against CMP, Daleiden, and others, alleging that they engaged in illegal conduct that includes violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and engaging in trespass, breach of contract, and illegal secret recording.
Today’s verdict makes clear — as has been shown over and over again — that these anti-abortion operatives engaged in a deliberate fraud to deceive the public.
Investigations in at least 13 states concluded that Planned Parenthood engaged in no wrongdoing. Eight other states declined to investigate at all, citing lack of evidence.
The instigators of the manipulated videos were charged with felonies in both California and Texas.
In January 2016, a Texas grand jury issued both felony and misdemeanor criminal charges for two of the people behind the videos, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt.
In March 2017, the California attorney general charged the pair with 15 felonies for illegal recording in California.
Over four years after the first false allegations against Planned Parenthood, public support for Planned Parenthood remains high:
An NBC-WSJ poll shows that in 2016 Planned Parenthood had a significantly higher favorability rating than any other group or individual tested — including the U.S. Supreme Court, President Obama, both political parties, and key Republicans running for president.
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed that strong support for Planned Parenthood is higher than it is for the NRA, and more than double the support for Paul Ryan or the FBI, and actually increased from July of 2015.
Over 4 million new supporters joined Planned Parenthood after the attacks began in 2015. Today, Planned Parenthood has 13 million supporters.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.