Planned Parenthood made headlines in July 2015 when an anti-abortion group, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), released videos purportedly showing doctors affiliated with the women’s healthcare organization attempting to sell fetal tissue to a firm called StemExpress. Although fetal tissue can be donated, profiting from sale is illegal.
Planned Parenthood wrote in an August 2015 letter to Congress that independent investigators found a least 42 misleading video cuts in the footage, and now they’re suing the CMP for violating laws in three states, as well as federal laws, with offenses including secret taping, fraud, conspiracy and trespassing.
The group is seeking compensatory, statutory and punitive damages, but a dollar amount has not been set, The Hill reported.
The suit was filed in federal court in San Francisco on Jan. 14, according to Reuters.
"This case is about a network of anti-abortion extremists and the laws they broke in order to spread lies and harm Planned Parenthood," Dawn Laguens, vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told Reuters.
"This entire smear campaign is a fraud built on illegal acts and a web of lies," she added.
The leader of the CMP, David Daleiden, was specifically named in the lawsuit. He told Buzzfeed he’s ready to go to court.
“Game on,” he wrote in an email. “I look forward to taking the depositions of all the Planned Parenthood CEOs who profited off of their business relationship with StemExpress.”
Laguens contends that no one on staff committed any wrongdoing and Planned Parenthood hasn’t profited from tissue donation, Reuters notes.