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Planned Parenthood sues makers of discredited fetal tissue videos

A sign is seen outside of a Planned Parenthood in this undated file photo.

Planned Parenthood has filed a federal civil lawsuit against the people and groups behind the widely discredited video smear campaign launched in 2015.

The lawsuit names the Center for Medical Progress, BioMax Procurement Services, LLC, Albin Rhomberg, Troy Newman, Gerardo Adrian Lopez, David Daleiden (who used the fake name Robert Sarkis in the videos) and Sandra Susan Merritt (who used the fake name Susan Tennenbaum in the videos) as well as "unknown co-conspirators." Planned Parenthood says the defendants are "anti-abortion activists engaged in an elaborate, illegal conspiracy in order to block women's access to safe and legal abortion."

The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco, and charges that the Center for Medical Progress, its leaders and co-conspirators violated the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO Act) as well as engaging in wire fraud, mail fraud, invasion of privacy, illegal secret recording and trespassing.

"The people behind this fraud lied and broke the law in order to spread malicious lies about Planned Parenthood," said Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "This lawsuit exposes the elaborate, illegal conspiracy designed to block women's access to safe and legal abortion, and we filed the case to hold them accountable."

The videos released by CMP claimed Planned Parenthood was selling fetal tissue for profit. The videos triggered of investigations by states into the women's health organization and renewed calls to defund it. None of the 11 investigations completed to date have found any evidence of wrongdoing or illegal activity. Eight states have declined to investigate citing lack of evidence of wrongdoing.

Select Planned Parenthood clinics allow patients to donate fetal tissue for medical research.
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