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Supreme Court rejects appeal to release anti-abortion activists' videos

From Reuters - April 2, 2018

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a bid by anti-abortion activists to win the release of videos they surreptitiously recorded at meetings of abortion providers.

The justices declined to take up appeals by the abortion opponents and left in place a lower courts ruling blocking the release of videos that had the aim of exposing alleged illegal sales of aborted fetal tissue for profit. The trial judge in the case concluded there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the abortion providers captured in the videos.

The activists, including anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress founder David Daleiden, recorded the videos in 2014 and 2015 at annual meetings of the National Abortion Federation, a nonprofit organization representing abortion providers including affiliates of Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood has said the videos were heavily edited to leave a false impression of wrongdoing.

The National Abortion Federation in 2015 sued Daleiden, the California-based Center for Medical Progress and former center board member Troy Newman to stop the release of videos.

The federation said the videos were illegally recorded at private meetings protected by confidentiality agreements and that the anti-abortion activists had infiltrated the meetings by posing as executives of a company that bought fetal tissue.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco blocked the release of the videos in 2016, ruling that enforcing the confidentiality agreements would not violate free speech rights under the U.S. Constitutions First Amendment. Orrick discounted the claim by the abortion opponents that they were acting ascitizen journalists in an undercover investigation.

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