Truth and consequences

Michelle Goldberg reports at Slate:

Thanks to the Center for Medical Progress, Planned Parenthood spent the latter part of 2015 getting kicked in the teeth. The CMP’s highly edited undercover videos, which purported to show Planned Parenthood officials selling fetal organs, created a hurricane of terrible publicity and spurred political attacks across the country. Anti-clinic harassment shot up exponentially. Protestors targeted Planned Parenthood doctors at their homes. Five congressional committees and eighteen states launched investigations. (Ten of those state investigations cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing.) A madman ranting about “baby parts” murdered three people at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs.

All for the sake of trying to keep women from having the right and the ability to stop being pregnant.

Now, Planned Parenthood is going on the offensive. On Thursday afternoon, it announced a massive lawsuit against CMP, charging it with, among other things, violating the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization, or RICO, act—a law originally used against the Mafia. The lawsuit seeks restitution for actual losses caused by CMP as well as compensatory and punitive damages and attorneys fees. It hasn’t named a dollar figure, but it claims that CMP’s actions have cost Planned Parenthood millions. Should Planned Parenthood prevail, it would be a profound economic blow to the anti-abortion movement.

But but but free speech! Right?

Maybe not.

CMP may indeed have a First Amendment defense to at least some of Planned Parenthood’s charges, but the fraud and deception outlined in the lawsuit are not what investigative journalists do, even when they go undercover. In pulling off its anti-abortion coup, the suit alleges, CMP made use of fake driver’s licenses and fake credit cards. It stole the identity of one of founder Daniel Deleiden’s pro-choice high school classmates, Brianna Allen. And of course, it registered a fraudulent tissue procurement company, Biomax.

Free fraud! That doesn’t sound quite as good, does it.

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