The lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco against
anti-abortion group the Center for Medical Progress alleges
conspiracy and fraud among other violations in connection with the
The videos, which were released in July, sparked widespread
controversy by purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials
trying to negotiate prices for aborted fetal tissue.
Under federal law, donated human fetal tissue may be used for
research, but profiting from its sale is prohibited.
"This case is about a network of anti-abortion extremists and the
laws they broke in order to spread lies and harm Planned
Parenthood," Dawn Laguens, vice president of Planned Parenthood
Federation of America, said on a conference call.
No Planned Parenthood staff were involved in any wrongdoing, Laguens
said, and the organization has not profited from its tissue donation
"This entire smear campaign is a fraud built on illegal acts and a
web of lies," she said.
The Center for Medical Progress called the lawsuit "frivolous" in a
"This last-ditch move of desperation is going to expose all of the
sordid dealings of the California Planned Parenthood affiliates,"
the group said.
The 65-page complaint alleged the group is a "complex criminal
enterprise" that violated racketeering laws, set up a fake company
and secured false identification to access private abortion
conferences and meetings in California, Maryland and Florida.
The complaint also accused the group of violation of privacy,
fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of contract, and trespassing in
connection with the video-recording campaign.
[to top of second column]
Attorneys for Planned Parenthood said that they were seeking
Since the videos were released, Planned Parenthood has been targeted
by Republican lawmakers in Congress and several states for funding
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, a Republican, has ordered state
officials to cut off the group's funding through the state Medicaid
program, a move the organization said on Wednesday it would
challenge in court.
A spokeswoman with Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri on
Thursday said it was cleared after the state's Board of Healing Arts
investigated allegations of fetal tissue misuse.
In addition, a gunman was accused of killing three people and
wounding nine others in a Nov. 27 shooting rampage at one of their
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Daniel
Wallis and Cynthia Osterman)
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