Skip to main content

David Daleiden, Pro-Life Activists Ordered to Pay Planned Parenthood $2.4M for Exposing Sale of Baby Body Parts


Share This article

A California appeals court has ruled that David Daleiden and his team of pro-life activists must pay $2.4 million to Planned Parenthood for an undercover investigation that exposed the abortion giant was harvesting and selling baby body parts.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed, in part, a lower court's ruling that Daleiden, journalist Sandra Merritt,  and pro-life activists Troy Newman, Gerardo Lopez, and Albin Rhomberg violated the Federal Wiretap Act, but upheld several other charges against the group.

As CBN News reported, Daleiden and Merritt, with the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) produced and released videos in 2015 exposing Planned Parenthood operatives discussing, even bragging about, how to maximize the sale of aborted baby body parts.

Daleiden and Merritt are the first undercover journalists to be criminally prosecuted in the history of California. 

At issue, in this case, was the pro-life activists' use of fake IDs and the recording of confidential conversations with executives from Planned Parenthood Federation of America. 

The lower court ruled the undercover pro-life investigators violated several laws including conspiracy, breach of contracts, fraud, fraudulent and unlawful business practices, trespass, RICO, and various federal and state wiretapping laws. 

The pro-life activists claim they were acting as citizen journalists and their actions were protected by the First Amendment and journalistic practices. 

Circuit Judge Ronald M. Gould was one of the three judges on the panel who upheld the majority of the lower court's decision. 

"Invoking journalism and the First Amendment does not shield individuals from liability for violations of laws applicable to all members of society. None of the laws Appellants violated was aimed specifically at journalists or those holding a particular viewpoint," Gould wrote in an opinion Friday. 

Overturning the federal wiretap part of the verdict removed only $100,000 of the over $2.4 million in compensatory damages.

The Center for Medical Progress denounced the court's decision. 

"A Ninth Circuit panel decided with this ruling today that protecting Planned Parenthood's barbaric practices of partial-birth abortion and trafficking of aborted fetuses for government-sponsored experiments is more important than protecting the First Amendment rights of journalists and of the public," CMP stated

"In order to do this, the panel had to contradict its own precedents about undercover reporting on any other topic, disregard other Circuits' en banc findings of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood, and bless the increasing weaponization of the justice system against pro-life speech," it continued. 

The group adds that the "tide of history is turning against the panel's obsolete pro-abortion exceptionalism" and announced plans to appeal the court's ruling. 

Liberty Counsel is seeking an en banc review from the entire Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the multimillion-dollar civil lawsuit against Sandra Merritt. 

An en banc review would allow the full circuit court to overturn a decision reached by a three-judge panel.

Liberty Counsel claims the court awarded millions of dollars in damages to Planned Parenthood;

1. without any proof that the undercover videos were false or deceptive
2. without allowing the jury to hear those conversations
3. without requiring Planned Parenthood to prove that the conversations recorded in public places were "confidential".

Liberty Counsel's Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, "Sandra Merritt is being targeted for exposing Planned Parenthood's barbaric practice of harvesting and selling baby body parts. Sandra did nothing wrong. She only revealed the truth of what horrors are happening to precious unborn children. Liberty Counsel will continue to seek justice for Sandra Merritt and for these innocent babies."

***Please sign up for CBN Newsletters and download the CBN News app to ensure you keep receiving the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***

Share This article

About The Author


Talia Wise serves as a multi-media producer for CBN News Newswatch, and social media outlets. Prior to joining CBN News she worked for Fox Sports Florida producing and reporting. Talia attended Regent University where she earned a Master’s in Journalism and the University of Virginia. She lives in Newport News, Virginia.