Judge Extends Restraining Order Against Anti-Abortion Group

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WASHINGTON — A federal judge in California has extended a restraining order against an anti-abortion group known for its Planned Parenthood videos after it attempted to release secretly-recorded footage of a different abortion group.

The Center for Medical Progress recorded meetings of the National Abortion Federation, an international organization of abortion providers, in 2014 and 2015. But District Judge William H. Orrick III in San Francisco, who first barred the release of the footage last July, said Friday that CMP violated the abortion group’s right to privacy.

“It should be said that the majority of the recordings lack much public interest, and despite the misleading contentions of defendants, there is little that is new in the remainder of the recordings,” Orrick wrote in the court’s order. “Weighed against that public interest are NAF’s and its members’ legitimate interests in their rights to privacy, security, and association by maintaining the confidentiality of their presentations and conversations at NAF Annual Meetings. The balance is strongly in NAF’s favor.”

CMP, which gained fame over the summer for releasing edited footage that purportedly showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue, says it will appeal Orrick’s decision.

“Similar to other corporate outlaws, Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation continue to use oppressive litigation to suppress the evidence of their corrupt baby-parts-for-profit scheme,” the group said in a statement. “We will appeal this ruling and seek all legal remedies to vindicate our free speech rights, and those of all Americans, against Planned Parenthood and NAF’s extremist attacks on the First Amendment.”

David Daleiden, the project leader of the Center for Medical Progress, previously called the National Abortion Federation, to which multiple Planned Parenthood affiliates belong, a “criminal organization.”

Planned Parenthood last month sued CMP, and Daleiden was recently indicted on several charges stemming from CMP’s Planned Parenthood recordings, including tampering with a governmental record, a second-degree felony, in Harris County, Texas.

Daleiden turned himself into authorities Thursday and posted bond, according to Harris County District Attorney spokesman Jeff McShan.

A hearing has been scheduled in the Texas case for March 28.