The U.S. Supreme Court denied a request by the Thomas More Society to dismiss what the public interest firm says is a “discriminatory” lawsuit brought against undercover journalist David Daleiden by abortion giant Planned Parenthood.
Daleiden is the 30-year-old pro-life activist under fire from the abortion industry for releasing in 2015 a shocking undercover videos showing more than a dozen Planned Parenthood employees casually discussing the sale of aborted baby parts.
Daleiden and his team maintain his actions are not illegal thanks to “anti-SLAPP” laws, which shield citizen journalists from powerful interests groups that seek to intimidate or otherwise silence a person exposing corruption. SLAPP is an acronym that stands for “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.”
Daleiden, the director of the California-based Center for Medical Progress, appealed to the Supreme Court in November of last year after the liberal, San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his attorney’s arguments that he was protected by such laws. The Thomas More Society says that in doing so, the 9th Circuit “reversed” its own precedent and has allowed Planned Parenthood to “end run” around the First Amendment.
Peter Breen, Vice President and Senior Counsel for the Thomas More Society, said that he and his team will continue to "carry on in the battle" to defend Daleiden's rights.
“While we would, of course, have preferred that the high court reexamine the motion to dismiss the abortion giant’s lawsuit, we are prepared to carry on in the battle to protect our client’s First Amendment rights," he said.
“We had asked the Supreme Court to apply California’s Anti-SLAPP statute to dismiss the discriminatory suit against Mr. Daleiden. He is being persecuted and prosecuted by the abortion industry because of his investigative reporting that exposed Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the grisly trafficking of aborted babies’ body parts," he continued.
“The California statute gives defendants like Mr. Daleiden the ability to quickly end Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, known as SLAPP lawsuits, and should have been applied in this circumstance," he added.
Breen said that despite "repeated attempts at intimidation and mounting legal costs, we will continue to fight alongside of Mr. Daleiden, even as Planned Parenthood attempts to prevent him from disseminating truthful evidences of their egregious wrongdoing.”
In a tweet following the Supreme Court’s decision, Daleiden stated that Planned Parenthood and not the Center for Medical Progress is the “biggest loser.”
Daleiden is currently facing 15 felony counts by the State of California for his investigative actions. The charges were brought against him and fellow pro-life activist Sandra Merritt by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in March 2017.
In 2015, the State of California, then under the Attorney Generalship of Democratic Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, investigated Daleiden’s group, eventually raiding his home and confiscating his undercover tapes. Harris received large sums of money for her U.S. Senate bid from Planned Parenthood.