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Alliance Alert

Apr 26, 2017

The First Amendment and Investigative Journalism

Back in 2015, the Center for Medical Progress released the first of their undercover videos exposing the practice of Planned Parenthood and others in the abortion industry of illegally harvesting and selling the body parts of aborted babies.

For the last two years, CMP founder David Daleiden has been wrapped up in a lawsuit that included a preliminary injunction that prevented him from releasing footage obtained during National Abortion Federation meetings.

Now, ADF attorneys have filed a friend-of-the-court brief that asks the full 9th Circuit to hear the case.

The case hinges on whether Daleiden "knowingly and intelligently" gave up his First Amendment rights:

"'No one can say that you agreed to give up your constitutionally protected freedoms when you didn’t,' said ADF Legal Counsel Elissa Graves. 'Courts have repeatedly made clear that no one loses their First Amendment freedoms, such as freedom of speech and freedom of the press, except perhaps when they have knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently surrendered those freedoms. No one with Center for Medical Progress did that; therefore, we are asking the full 9th Circuit to take up this case and reverse the panel’s decision.'"

Over at the ADF blog, Marissa Mayer explains further:

"NAF’s case banks on the fact that Daleiden signed a confidentiality agreement when entering the conference that prohibited any recordings. 

"Just one problem. There are both public interest concerns and First Amendment violation concerns that far outweigh whatever Big Abortion is trying to keep under wraps.

"Daleiden in no way saw signing this confidentiality agreement as a waiver of his constitutional rights.  He entered the conference with the clear goal of shooting undercover investigative footage of the inner workings of the abortion industry. If illegal activity was discovered, as Daleiden claims it was, he has every right—if not an important responsibility—to share this information with the authorities, regardless of any confidentiality agreement."

Her conclusion bears repeating:

"The abortion industry’s interests should never outweigh public concerns or First Amendment rights. The Ninth Circuit should re-hear this case and uphold David Daleiden’s freedom of speech."

The importance of investigative journalism crosses party lines, certainly, and a ruling against Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress would harm the freedom of speech and whistleblowers everywhere.

  • Center for Medical Progress
  • David Daleiden
  • planned parenthood
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