Image from TruthRevolt
Gotta love Friday afternoons in news dump land. So, it seems that the continuing saga of the Center for Medical Progress exposing Planned Parenthood and the companies they supply with fetal organs and other assorted body parts, StemExpress, the company that employed whistleblower Kelly O’Donnell who was featured in videos three and six, has broken their contract with Planned Parenthood. From Politico:
StemExpress, one of the tissue companies that works with Planned Parenthood, is cutting its ties with the women’s health organization after a series of sting videos that have prompted congressional inquiries, sources tell POLITICO.
The small biomedical tissue procurement company is distancing itself from Planned Parenthood after finding itself tangentially linked to what abortion opponents allege is Planned Parenthood’s illegal trafficking of fetal tissue and organs.
Both StemExpress and Planned Parenthood have denied doing anything illegal or improper. They say that they only facilitated the donation of tissue for medical research with a patient’s consent.
StemExpress, a five-year-old company based in Placerville, Calif., notified Planned Parenthood and Congress Friday of its decision to end the relationship, the source said. The House Energy and Commerce and the Senate Judiciary committees had asked StemExpress to explain its relationship with Planned Parenthood.
StemExpress worked inside several Northern California Planned Parenthood clinics. Typically, after a patient told a Planned Parenthood physician that she was going to have an abortion, a StemExpress technician would ask for consent to obtain the fetal tissue. If consent was granted, the technician would then facilitate and process the donation of the tissue for StemExpress.
As my idol Ed Morrissey put it, this is called cutting your loses. The video released on Wednesday was a simple interview of O’Donnell where she described the demeanor, and actions of StemExpress employees that could well be proven to be illegal if one chose to pursue the issue. She described a specific incident where a co-worker collected specimens from the pathology lab even though the mother refused consent. THAT is a violation of state and federal law.
CMP claims that there is enough undercover footage for another dozen or so videos. StemExpress, it seems, must be one of the subjects of footage yet to be released as there WAS a temporary restraining order slapped on CMP to keep them from publishing any featuring their employees. That TRO is scheduled to expire later this month and indications from the court in California are that it will not be renewed since CMP counter-sued with an anti-SLAPP motion that will force StemExpress to explain why they think there should be any sort of restraining order in the first place. From Popehat:
StemExpress’ initial success now appears unlikely to continue. CMP has filed a well-drafted anti-SLAPP motion attacking the StemExpress complaint. I’ve explained howanti-SLAPP motions work before. If you’re being sued for speech, and you believe the speech is protected, you can file the motion, lay the factual framework for the speech being protected, and force the plaintiff to come forward with admissible evidence showing it could plausibly succeed on its claims. Moreover, an anti-SLAPP motion halts discovery absent a special order of the court.
StemExpress had demanded early expedited discovery into the case; that request was thwarted by CMP’s anti-SLAPP motion. So they appealed to the court under part of the anti-SLAPP statute for special discovery — an exception to the general rule that discovery is stayed when the motion is filed. They wanted, for instance, to gather evidence that would help them transform their brief temporary restraining order into a longer-lived preliminary injunction, which requires more proof.
The L.A. County Superior Court’s decision does not bode well for their project. In what appears to be a tentative ruling, the court refuses their special discovery request, saying they have not shown adequate cause. More specifically, the court suggests there’s no need for discovery in support of a preliminary injunction the court is not inclined to award:
“Plaintiff does not persuade the Court that the discovery it seeks is necessary to obtain the preliminary injunction. That is because it appears unlikely that the Court is going to grant the preliminary injunction. The injunction Plaintiff seeks would prevent Defendants from disseminating the videotapes. First, this proposed injunction would constitute a prior restraint on the Defendants’ rights under the First Amendment and the parallel protections under the California Constitution. US Const. Amend. I; Cal. Const. Art. 1, § 2. Therefore, it is unlikely that the preliminary injunction will ultimately be granted.”
Yes, it appears that the court has been awakened to the prior restraint implications of prohibiting distribution of a video.
The Court also rejects StemExpress’ argument that they are entitled to injunctive relief because CMP violated California criminal and civil law against taping a conversation without consent. That law, the court points out, allows a victim to get damages and to prevent further illicit recording, but not to prevent distribution of the recording.
Which begs the question…just exactly what is on that footage if StemExpress is so desperate to keep it from being released? As it is, their former employee, O’Donnell risked EVERYTHING including her life to tell her story to CMP. She has had a few interviews in the last few days recounting her harrowing experience and just what her life has been like. The most shocking of them seems to have been scrubbed from the web. Dana Loesch’s interview with her is available here.
The CMP exposes Planned Parenthood and other Ghouls is not over yet. Stay tuned.