Legal News

Anti-Abortion Activist, David Daleiden, Wins Appeals Victory

In 2015, David Daleiden appeared on Fox News to talk about his investigation of Planned Parenthood.

Summary: A Washington Appeals Court ruled that employees at a research laboratory may not remain anonymous in court documents. 

An anti-abortion activist has won an appeal in the state of Washington that could out researchers and personnel working in conjunction with an abortion facility, according to Fox News.


Activist David Daleiden had requested the names of individuals working at the Birth Defects Research Laboratory at the University of Washington and other abortion-related companies, and the employees had asked to remain anonymous. A district court had allowed the personnel’s names to be redacted from public documents, but a federal appeals court said that the district court must look at the case again and justify its ruling.

“This case began when our client requested public records from the University of Washington about its publicly funded research lab,” Daleiden’s attorney Peter Breen from the Thomas More Society’s said to Fox News. “Mr. Daleiden’s broad-ranging investigation into the trafficking of aborted fetal remains led him to look into the University of Washington’s fetal tissue research and acquisition practices.”

The Birth Defects Research Laboratory is a collaboration between the University of Washington and an abortion facility, according to Fox News. The state-funded lab procures, processes, and transfers organs and tissues of aborted human fetuses in order to study birth defects. The employers of the lab sued Daleiden in August 2016 and said that if their names were published that they would most likely face “threats, harassment, and violence.”

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According to Town Hall, almost 150 people will be affected by this appeals ruling. This includes personnel not only from the UW’s Birth Defects Research Laboratory but also Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and Idaho; the Planned Parenthood Federation of America; the Cedar River Clinics; and Evergreen Hospital Medical Center.

Washington state requires full disclosure on all public records as part of its Public Records Act. A lower court had ruled in favor of “John and Jane Doe” of the Birth Defects Research Laboratory, despite the law; but a recent order from the U.S. Court of Appeals issued a unanimous order reversing the district court’s decision.

“Although we agree with the district court that there may be a basis for redaction where disclosure would likely result in threats, harassment, and violence, the court’s order did not address how the Doe plaintiffs have made the necessary clear showing with specificity as to the different individuals or groups of individuals who could be identified in the public records,” the appeals court wrote. “The district court also made no finding that specific individuals or groups of individuals were engaged in activity protected by the First Amendment and what that activity was.”

Breen told Fox News that the public had a right to know how their tax dollars were being spent.

“The Court of Appeals, by reversing this decision and remanding this case back to district court, has prevented a serious threat to the public’s right to know how their tax dollars are being spent,” Breen said.

Daleiden is the founder of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), and in 2015, he drew national attention when he released videos of his undercover investigation into Planned Parenthood. He and a CMP employee pretended to be fetal researchers and attempted to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood.

What do you think of David Daleiden? Let us know in the comments below.





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