The pro-life group behind a series of undercover Planned Parenthood videos accused the bioservice firm StemExpress late Wednesday of trying to “cover up this illegal baby parts trade” after the company obtained a court order blocking the release of footage.
The Los Angeles Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday stopping the Center for Medical Progress from releasing any video showing three officials from StemExpress, a company that transfers fetal tissue from abortions performed at Planned Parenthood and other clinics to medical researchers.
A company spokesman told the Associated Press that StemExpress is “grateful its rights have been vindicated in a court of law,” but the center said in a statement that the court threw out most of the company’s request.
StemExpress is “attempting to use meritless litigation to cover-up this illegal baby parts trade, suppress free speech, and silence the citizen press reporting on issues of burning concern to the American public,” said the CMP statement.
“They are not succeeding — their initial petition was rejected by the court, and their second petition was eviscerated to a narrow and contingent order about an alleged recording pending CMP’s opportunity to respond,” the group said.
The court agreed to block the release of footage of StemExpress officials filmed secretly at a lunch in May until an Aug. 19 court hearing.
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The CMP has released three videos since July 13, the latest of which shows an interview with former StemExpress employee Holly O’Donnell, who says she was hired to “draw blood and dissect dead fetuses and sell the parts to researchers.”
She said employees at StemExpress, a for-profit company, tried to maximize the financial benefit of each fetus by obtaining the most profitable organs.
“The harder and more valuable the tissue, the more money you get,” Ms. O’Donnell said. “So if you can somehow procure a brain or a heart, you’re going to get more money than just chorionic villi or umbilical cord. That’s basically what it is. So I guess that’s an incentive to try and get the hard stuff.”
The CMP’s David Daleiden has said that the California-based pro-life group may release as many as a dozen videos. Since July 13, the organization has released one video per week.
The group has accused Planned Parenthood of profiting from the sale of aborted fetal organs in violation of federal law, which officials from Planned Parenthood have denied, saying they only receive reimbursement for costs, which is legal.