Liberty Counsel Seeks Dismissal of Planned Parenthood Lawsuit Against Sandra Merritt

Apr 26, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — In two separate motions, Liberty Counsel asked a federal court to dismiss the baseless and retaliatory lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood against Sandra Merritt and to punish Planned Parenthood for attempting to silence Merritt’s First Amendment rights. Merritt's courageous undercover work as an investigative journalist exposed Planned Parenthood’s barbaric practices of harvesting organs from babies and selling them for profit. The videos she helped to produce stirred the conscience of America and led to the defunding of Planned Parenthood in more than 10 states.

Rather than changing course, Planned Parenthood has unleashed a 15-count federal lawsuit in which it claims that Merritt and other pro-life activists are legally responsible for its loss of taxpayer funding and for $10 to $16 million in other losses. In one of the motions filed under California’s law designed to protect citizens from Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation ("SLAPP"), Liberty Counsel points out the ridiculous nature of Planned Parenthood’s claims and demonstrates that Planned Parenthood’s losses were caused by its own gruesome, barbaric, unethical, and potentially unlawful practices – not by the courageous and constitutionally protected acts of a truth-teller who exposed those practices. Planned Parenthood is not the first organization to sue undercover reporters for exposing dubious practices. Liberty Counsel’s anti-SLAPP motion collects several such lawsuits, which were properly dismissed, and asks that Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit meet the same fate, quickly. The motion also asks for Planned Parenthood to be held responsible for the fees and costs caused by its groundless suit.

In a separate motion, Liberty Counsel also seeks dismissal of Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit on multiple grounds, including that Planned Parenthood has no standing, no damages, and no legally cognizable claims. Both motions are currently set to be heard by the court in San Francisco on July 6, 2016. Liberty Counsel’s vigorous defense of Merritt should defend and bolster the rights of all pro-life advocates who reveal the truth about Planned Parenthood’s inhumane actions.

Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, said, "Sandra has bravely stood up to a heavily funded corporation and exposed the truth of their brutal practices. She should be rewarded, not punished by our legal system." Harry Mihet, Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel, said, "Sandra is not intimidated by Planned Parenthood’s bullies. Their efforts to hide the truth and chill free speech will fail."

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.