Court Rules that Congress Can Receive Full Unedited Footage of Undercover Investigation into National Abortion Federation and Planned Parenthood
Potential Constitutional Clash between Federal Court and Congress Averted
(October 6, 2015 - SAN FRANCISCO) – This afternoon, in response to arguments by the Thomas More Society, counsel for David Daleiden, U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick III has ruled that David Daleiden and The Center for Medical Progress may respond to Congress’s subpoena seeking all unedited video footage of Daleiden’s undercover investigation into trafficking in fetal body parts by Planned Parenthood and other National Abortion Federation affiliates.
“The National Abortion Federation has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep David Daleiden’s footage of its annual meetings out of the hands of law enforcement and the Congress,” said Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Special Counsel. “We’re pleased that the District Court has today decided to allow Congress to seek the unedited footage of the wrongdoing uncovered by David’s investigation. We will continue to urge the District Court to allow David to release more undercover videos featuring the footage from these annual meetings to the public, so that the American people can make their own assessment of the practices of Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation.”
The National Abortion Federation had urged Judge Orrick to forbid Daleiden from providing the footage requested by Congress. However, Judge Orrick’s order, issued this afternoon, stated unequivocally that “Congress has the power to investigate, and it is not up to the courts to go beyond the narrow confines of determining that the committee’s inquiry is in its province.”
Judge Orrick’s order further stated that, “Importantly in our Constitutional system, there are three equal branches of government, and courts should refrain from creating needless friction with a coordinate branch of government.”
Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, authorized the subpoena for the unedited footage in the wake of claims by Planned Parenthood that the videos released by David Daleiden and The Center for Medical Progress were somehow doctored, a claim vigorously denied by Daleiden. With today’s order from the District Court, the Congress will now be able to review the investigative materials and reassure the public that the videos about Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation are authentic and true.
You can read Judge Orrick's order here.
Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago, the Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way up to the United States Supreme Court.