January 25th 2020

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Wildfires: Lessons from the past not yet learnt

EDITORIAL America 'resets' foreign policy on China and Russia

CANBERRA OBSERVED After the fires, we still need an economy and to power it

GENDER POLITICS In trans Newspeak, parental consent is a 'hurdle'

REFLECTION Conjugal honour: Love of husband and wife joined together in pure intimacy

LIFE ISSUES Pro-lifers punished for exposing baby harvesting

LAW AND SOCIETY Cardinal Pell and the Appeal Court judges

LITERATURE AND SOCIETY The poetry of Distributism

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY Botany Bay: Always more than a dumping ground

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Finally getting Brexit done

HUMOUR The MacStuttles probe

MUSIC From retch to wretched

CINEMA Three times the bravura: 1917, The Gentlemen, Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon

BOOK REVIEW The contradictions of the dominant ideology

BOOK REVIEW Novel celebrates inventor of literary fairytales



HUMAN RIGHTS A Magnitsky-style law for Australia?

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Pro-lifers punished for exposing baby harvesting

by Chris McCormack

News Weekly, January 25, 2020


  • California Court orders investigative journalists exposing aborted-baby trade to pay
    $US2.3 million
  • Judge linked to Planned Parenthood repeatedly suppressed evidence from defence

A California court has found David Daleiden, the head of the Centre for Medical Progress (CMP), and others involved in exposing Planned Parenthood’s organ harvesting of aborted babies in 2015, guilty of multiple “crimes” and ordered them to pay nearly $2.3 million to Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) in the civil case PPFA and 10 affiliates brought against the CMP.

David Daleiden

In 2015, the CMP released videos that they’d filmed on hidden cameras, exposing Planned Parenthood (PP) and National Abortion Federation executives discussing trading aborted baby-parts with CMP staff who posed as fetal tissue company representatives for a front company named BioMax Procurement Services. In one video, Dr Mary Gatter, president of the Medical Directors’ Council at PPFA, when haggling over prices for baby body-parts, said: “I want a Lamborghini.”

U.S. federal law states: “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce.”

After a six-week civil trial in San Francisco’s U.S. District Court, 10 jurors took less than two days to reach the guilty verdict after the judge ordered them to find Daleiden guilty of multiple instances of trespass while engaging with PP officials. Daleiden and others were ordered to pay $870,000 in punitive damages and the balance in compensatory damages and legal fees.

The CMP had filed a petition for a writ of mandamus (order from a superior court) in December 2017 seeking Judge William Orrick III’s disqualification from presiding over the case as he had links to PP, including helping open, run and fund a San Francisco PP clinic that was in partnership with a family resource centre in which he held a leadership role. The clinic is part of Planned Parenthood Northern California, one of the parties suing the CMP, and had a contract supplying fetal parts to biotech company StemExpress.

The CMP maintains that Judge Orrick and his wife donated “significant financial resources” to the partnership between PP and the family resource centre, which the PP affiliate chief executive said helped maintain and expand their operations.

The CMP also said Mrs Orrick used her husband’s image on Facebook to support Planned Parenthood in posts describing the CMP’s videos as “domestic terrorism”, to dispute issues in the lawsuit and to cheer on a 2016 indictment of Daleiden in Houston, Texas, which was later thrown out. Judge Orrick’s ongoing relationship with the family resource centre housing the PP clinic, and in partnership with it, meant the judge could not be impartial in trying the case.

In June 2017, U.S. District Court Judge James Donato dismissed a Motion to Disqualify Judge Orrick, saying “each of defendants’ arguments adds up to a zero”. The subsequent motion lodged in December 2017 to disqualify Judge Orrick also failed.

Earlier, in February 2016, Judge Orrick had granted an injunction barring the CMP from releasing its videos and claimed that CMP members broke legally binding confidentiality agreements by recording National Abortion Federation representatives. Hundreds of hours of video are still suppressed by his court order, which bars their sharing with law enforcement officials even if they contain evidence of crimes.

During the trial, Judge Orrick said: “We're not going into the truth of abortion procedures. I've excluded that.” He also ruled that concerns about the videos sparking violence against abortion providers outweighed First Amendment claims. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prevents the government from making laws to limit freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

The CMP’s revelations resulted in the Orange County District Attorney’s office filing a complaint in October 2016 against two bioscience companies, DV Biologics LLC and sister company DaVinci Biosciences LLC, accusing the companies of illegally selling cells from fetal brain tissue for up to $1,100 per vial from 2009 to 2015 to pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions in 10 countries, including Australia. A $7.8 million settlement was reached between prosecutors and the companies and the companies were banned from ever operating again in California.

To give an idea as to how large the market for fetal tissue is, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spent $76 million on research using fetal tissue in 2014 with grants to more than 50 universities, while a multi-year contract between the NIH and the University of California San Francisco requires the use of aborted fetal organs. According to the Lozier Institute, StemExpress, one of the biomedical tissue procurement companies admitting on CMP videos they sourced aborted fetal tissue from PP, has since severed ties with PP and no longer lists fetal tissues on its website.

Meanwhile, Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR), a company contracted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to source fetal tissue from PP to use in government biomedical research, has had its contract revoked by U.S. Health and Human Services. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating ABR for criminal actions.

In response to the guilty verdict in November 2019, Daleiden said: “Justice was not done today in San Francisco. While top Planned Parenthood witnesses spent six weeks testifying under oath that the undercover videos are true and Planned Parenthood sold fetal organs on a quid pro quo basis, a biased judge with close Planned Parenthood ties spent six weeks influencing the jury with pre-determined rulings and suppressing the video evidence, all in order to rubber-stamp Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit attack on the First Amendment.

“This is a dangerous precedent for citizen journalism and First Amendment civil rights across the country, sending a message that speaking truth and facts to criticise the powerful is no longer protected by our institutions.”

Thomas More Society defence attorney representing CMP, Peter Breen, said: “This lawsuit is payback for David Daleiden exposing Planned Parenthood’s dirty business of buying and selling fetal parts and organs … We intend to seek vindication for David on appeal. His investigation into criminal activity by America’s largest abortion provider utilised standard investigative journalism techniques, those applied regularly by news outlets across the country.

“David’s findings revealed practices so abhorrent that the United States Congress issued criminal referrals for Planned Parenthood, and numerous states and elected officials have moved to strip it of funding.”

There has been no federal indictment of PP since the U.S. Congress referred five PP organisations and three bioscience companies to the FBI and Department of Justice for investigation in 2016. A letter of inquiry in June 2019 from Senator Lindsey Graham, the current chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, and from Senator Charles Grassley, the previous chairman, states: “The eight criminal referrals were based on an investigation by the committee’s majority staff, which resulted in a report titled ‘Human Fetal Tissue Research: Context and Controversy’. The investigation found evidence suggesting that the buying or selling of human fetal tissue may have occurred, as demonstrated in billing records and procurement logs provided by the named organisations to the committee.

“Additionally, the investigation uncovered facts that raise a reasonable suspicion that Planned Parenthood Federation of America may have conspired with its affiliates to violate the fetal tissue law.”

The Senators asked for a response from Attorney-General William Barr by July 2, 2019, but have received no response.

Since the trial outcome in November, several criminal charges against Daleiden and colleague Sandra Merritt involved in making the secret recordings have been dropped but they still face other charges in a California criminal trial. Similar criminal charges were completely dropped by Texas authorities.

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Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm