[JURIST] Planned Parenthood [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Thursday in the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] against anti-abortion activists. The organization claims criminal misconduct by the activists who produced undercover videos [BBC report] discussing the handling and sale of fetal tissue at several Planned Parenthood clinics. The group, Center for Medical Progress [advocacy website], released several secretly recorded video in July alleging that Planned Parenthood sold fetal tissue to researchers for a profit. Planned Parenthood has denied these allegations and claims only a few of its clinics provide fetal tissue for research and that the only compensation they receive is reimbursement for costs incurred. The suit claims that the group is guilty of "making recordings without consent, registering false identities with state agencies and violating non-disclosure agreements," as well as engaging in "wire fraud, mail fraud invasion of privacy and trespassing."The lawsuit seeks compensation in the form of punitive damages and legal fees.
Abortion related issues have been a heated topic since the release of the controversial videos. Earlier this month President Barack Obama vetoed legislation [JURIST report] that would have defunded Planned Parenthood. In August Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] in the US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, alleging that Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's termination of Medicaid provider agreements for the facility violates a federal law that requires Medicaid beneficiaries to have a choice in provider for family planning. Also in August the Alaska Superior Court struck down [JURIST report] a state law it says would have unfairly burdened low-income individuals by limiting Medicaid funding for abortions.