Op-Ed: Judge: Anti-Planned Parenthood group must turn over the evidence

Posted Sep 21, 2015 by Megan Hamilton
On Friday, a federal judge said that the anti-abortion group attacking Planned Parenthood with heavily edited videos cannot refuse to turn over pieces of evidence by pleading the Fifth Amendment.
Anti-abortion activists say prayers during a prayer vigil outside Planned Parenthood January 21  201...
Anti-abortion activists say prayers during a prayer vigil outside Planned Parenthood January 21, 2014 in Washington, DC
Alex Wong, Getty/AFP/File
The Center for Medical Progress must comply with the court's requests for documents, judge William Orrick said in a hearing. David Daleiden, founder of the organization, had previously told the court the group planned to invoke the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, in response to a lawsuit filed by the National Abortion Federation, The Hill reports.
The judge's decision is positive news for the NAF, which is a group of providers that includes Planned Parenthood clinics.
"It's telling that the defendants have been very vocal in the media saying that they have nothing to hide, yet in Federal court they want to plead the Fifth," said NAF president Vicki Saporta in a statement. "We are pleased with the results of today's hearing, and are eager to move forward with the discovery process."
After releasing a series of videos that purportedly show Planned Parenthood employees illegally selling fetal tissue, Daleiden and his group have been hit with numerous lawsuits and questions about the legality of the group's actions, Jezebel reports.
Daleiden acknowledges that members of his group tricked Planned Parenthood employees by pretending to be buyers from a medical research company. The NAF and Planned Parenthood contend these actions are illegal. However, CMP and Daleiden deny that their actions were illegal and contend that they have followed both state and federal laws as they recorded the videos, Jezebel notes.
No doubt about it, CMP's practices have been shady, and frankly, disgusting. But shady things don't faze Republican lawmakers, considering some of their practices. All you have to do is examine their misty-eyed love affair with the Koch brothers to know that. These guys have latched onto the videos as if they were handed to them by Jesus himself, fighting the Devil Planned Parenthood.
Several states have launched investigations, but fortunately, many of them have already cleared the organization of any wrongdoing. And House Republicans made good on their threat to defund Planned Parenthood, meaning that it's likely the rest of us will be forced to suffer another insufferable shutdown.
But what about David Daleiden? What sort of right-wing Christian ice cream flavor-of-the-week is he? An ice cream flavor with plenty of nuts it seems. As The Daily Beast points out, he's made plenty of extremist anti-abortion friends, including James O'Keefe, noted for bringing down ACORN, an organization that was very successful in helping to register minority and low-income people so they could vote.
Apparently his plan to take down Planned Parenthood has been going on since at least 2013, when he supposedly began running the CMP, Daily Beast notes. He has been conducting a "30-month-long investigative journalism study" into an activity that's already confirmed to be legal.
In the sting operation, Daleiden, 26, created Biomax Procurement Services in California, a fake limited liability corporation (LLC), filing the paperwork in October 2013, so that he could pretend to be a biotech company wanting to acquire fetal tissue. It's something that only the right-wing supposedly Christian government-shutdown-worshipping Republicans could love.
While the GOP is so busy hating on Planned Parenthood, let's consider this:
Making abortion illegal isn't going to prevent women from getting them.
Estimates show that the number of illegal abortions performed in the U.S. in the 1950s and 1960s range from 200,000 to 1.2 million per year, Our Bodies, Ourselves reports. Before Roe v. Wade, as many as 5,000 American women died each year as a result of unsafe abortions.
Because of Roe v. Wade, abortion today is a safe procedure, and the death rate from it is extremely low, with only about 0.6 deaths per 100,000 operations, the World Health Organization notes.
Legalizing abortion has allowed women to obtain timely abortions, thus reducing the risk of complications. In 1970, one in four abortions in the U.S. occurred at or after 13 weeks gestation. In 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports almost 92 percent of abortions were performed within the first trimester, with 64 percent performed at under eight weeks gestation. The number of abortions performed at 14-20 weeks' gestation was very low (7 percent). Even fewer abortions (1.3 percent) were performed after 21 weeks gestation.
What is considered to be an unsafe abortion?
The WHO defines unsafe abortion as a being performed by an individual lacking the proper skills, or being performed in an environment that doesn't conform to minimal medical standards, or both. It notes that unsafe abortions are very common in places where abortion is illegal. Worldwide, nearly half of all abortions are unsafe, and nearly all unsafe abortions (98 percent) occur in developing countries, and in countries where abortion remains unsafe, it is a leading cause of maternal mortality.
Not only that, but abortion laws that are highly restrictive are not associated with lower abortion rates. As the Guttmacher Institute notes, the abortion rate is 29 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in Africa, and in Latin America, the rate is 32 per 1,000, and this is in regions in which abortion is illegal under nearly all circumstances in the majority of countries. In Western Europe, however, the rate is 12 per 1,000, where abortion is generally permitted on broad grounds.
As The Washington Post reports, in it's 2013-2014 annual report, Planned Parenthood's affiliated clinics provided 10,6 million services for 2.7 million clients in 2013. Out of that number, 327,653 were abortions.
By the numbers:
These are the services provided by Planned Parenthood.
This chart shows the number of services performed by Planned Parenthood.
This chart shows the number of services performed by Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood annual report
As you can see, abortions make up a very small portion of what this organization does for low-income women and men, but the current crop of Reagan wannabes don't care about that. Nor do they care about women's health. Really, they don't. They could prevent abortions by not complaining whenever someone suggests that birth control should be free. They don't like the idea of poor people having sex, the mere suggestion of it gets under their skin. They also don't like the idea of more poor babies being born, but they aren't willing to do anything in anyway to help this situation, and they won't, unless there's a dollar somewhere to be sniffed out.
What is that sound I hear? It's the Republicans baying at the moon. Someone needs to tell them to go home.