The truth hurts. In California, however, who it ends up hurting is the truth-teller, and all to the tune of $1.2 million.That’s how much the pro-life group Center for Medical Progress is going to have to pay Planned Parenthood after a federal judge in California ruled against the group due to a series of undercover videos focused on Planned Parenthood and their methods.The videos found Planned Parenthood negotiated the sale of aborted baby parts to middlemen, among other less savory aspects of the group’s ethical practices regarding aborted fetal tissue.The group didn’t actually deny it sold the body parts, mind you, although the claim was that it was merely trying to recoup costs for preservation and transportation and not trying to make money. However, Planned Parenthood claimed that the Center for Medical Progress violated California’s Unfair Competition Law by recording the videos, and the judge agreed.That means, according to The Christian Post, the Center for Medical Progress is on the hook for $1,259,370 in damages under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. I know you’re smart enough to figure the acronym out, but I want to emphasize it — that’s the RICO statutes. You know, the laws usually seen sicced upon high-level drug dealers and “waste management experts” with names like Rudy “The Eyebrows” Castellano.
U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick of the Northern District of California wrote in his decision that “the illegal and fraudulent prongs of the [Unfair Competition Law] are satisfied given the jury’s verdict that defendants engaged in numerous illegal and fraudulent acts in California and emanating from California, against California-based plaintiffs and others, committed in violation of California law, Federal law, and the laws of other jurisdiction.”Orrick was citing a November verdict in which a jury found the Center for Medical Progress and activists from other groups, including Operation Rescue, violated laws when they went undercover to record a series of videos that were serious news at the time, for those who weren’t paying attention or forgot.“A series of undercover recordings were released in the summer of 2015 that revealed shocking conversations between the undercover pro-life journalists and Planned Parenthood executives, who haggled to obtain top dollar for each ‘specimen’ supplied to middle-man organ procurement companies. One abortionist famously asked for a Lamborghini in exchange for fetal tissue,” Operation Rescue wrote in a news release.Of course, that abortionist was joking. The Washington Post said so — and don’t you dare say otherwise, or else you’re fake news! The Washington Post ensures democracy doesn’t die in darkness. Say pro-abortion groups are lying and Snopes will be on you so fast, I swear to whatever deity overviews abortion!To be fair, I’ve watched the video and the abortionist, identified by The Washington Post as Mary Gatter, medical director for Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley, seemed unserious and jocund — but pricing body parts also isn’t the situation for jocularity.“It is no longer in dispute that Planned Parenthood sold aborted baby parts for profit and that our video evidence was authentic. They admitted it during our trial,” Troy Newman of Operation Rescue said in the news release.“Now Planned Parenthood wants us pay a price so the world could find out the sordid truth of their illegal babies-for-cash scheme.”It wasn’t just that Planned Parenthood took money for baby parts, mind you. It’s that the group allegedly altered procedures to get those parts.“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver … I’m not gonna crush that part,” Debra Nucatola, one of Planned Parenthood’s abortionists, was caught on video saying, The Christian Post reported. “I’m going to basically crush below. I’m not gonna crush above, and I am gonna see if I can get it all intact.”There were plenty of arguments from Planned Parenthood to excuse what everyone saw in this exposé.You’ve heard the most common one before, usually in reference to Project Veritas: The videos were edited to show the most incriminating parts. The argument was that the unedited videos, by and large, showed Planned Parenthood acted ethically. Yes, and by and large, the Nixon tapes showed the president acted ethically. Oh, and as The Christian Post noted, “complete video footage was released to show that none of the videos were selectively edited.”The ruling will be appealed, obviously, and one can imagine this one kicking around the courts for years. When the political football stops, there’s reason enough to hope things will look a lot different.“I believe when the full truth is finally told – and it wasn’t at our trial – we will all be exonerated, and it will be Planned Parenthood that will be held liable for their crimes in a court of law,” Newman said in his group’s news release. “I look forward to that day.”But that didn’t matter to a California federal jury (a shocker) or the judge, both of which decided that the interests of truth and freedom of the press were both easy enough to abrogate if it involved independent journalists reporting on Planned Parenthood. This appalling news should be of concern to anyone who cares about the First Amendment.It isn’t a concern of the mainstream media, however, mostly because members of the media never imagine themselves running afoul of Planned Parenthood or anything of its ilk. In fact, one might even wager they think the judge’s decision is right. They’d better hope they never end up on the wrong side of some exemplar of the left — because even if truth finally wins, it’ll be at great cost.Proverbs 29:2 puts it perfectly: “When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.”The more people hear about this sick twist of “justice,” the more they’re going to groan — and those who groan want the wicked held accountable.
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