Free speech rights should allow an anti-abortion group to release videos of discussions with a California company that provides fetal tissue for research, even if they were illegally recorded, a judge said Friday.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joanne O’Donnell issued a tentative ruling rejecting efforts by StemExpress to block the videos, though she said the company likely will prevail in its lawsuit claiming its privacy was violated by an anti-abortion activist posing as a biomedical company employee.
The case arose as the little-known Center for Medical Progress released videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing providing aborted fetal organs for research.
Abortion opponents said the video showed Planned Parenthood is illegally harvesting and selling the organs. Planned Parenthood said it did nothing wrong and the videos were deceptively edited to support extremists’ false claims.
Placerville-based StemExpress, which got some of its fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood, realized the center also secretly record its chief executive and others. It sued to pre-emptively block those videos from being seen.
StemExpress won a temporary restraining order last month, but O’Donnell said the center’s First Amendment rights trumped the company’s right to privacy in what it believed were confidential conversations.
O’Donnell still has to affirm her ruling, and if she does StemExpress is going to hit up an appeals court. This is a start, however. It’s also a glimmer of hope that every extreme leftist pet issue doesn’t have all of the judges in America running activist interference for them.
Another plus is that the mere attempt to suppress the videos is pretty much an admission that something wrong is going on.