Prior restraint

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The Center for Medical Progress has released three videos over the past few weeks featuring some pretty grotesque stuff. As if the violence and horror of abortion itself wasn’t enough, Planned Parenthood appears to be adjusting the procedure so as to recover as many intact fetal organs so they can be sold to companies like StemExpress.

CMP undercover video shows Planned Parenthood officials haggling over the sale of the body parts of aborted human fetuses.

CMP undercover video shows Planned Parenthood officials haggling over the sale of the body parts of aborted human fetuses.

StemExpress filed a lawsuit [PDF Format] against against CMP alleging (among other things) “Unfair Competition” from a fake company that CMP posed as to get the undercover video that’s never actually going to compete with StemExpress.

The real outrage is that StemExpress managed to get a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to issue a restraining order, prohibiting CMP from releasing some of its video.

The Los Angeles Superior Court order issued Tuesday prohibits the Center for Medical Progress from releasing any video of three high-ranking StemExpress officials taken at a restaurant in May.

To put it simply, this restraining order is prior restraint on the freedom of speech and the press. It is undoubtedly an illegal, invalid order (see here, and here). I took the required (for journalists) media law class in college and spent 15 years in newspapers and I can’t recall a situation where a judge prohibited publication of something in a situation like this. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the California courts and eventually the Ninth Circuit won’t uphold it.

This restraining order shouldn’t last long. But if it does, here’s hoping that CMP did as I suggested in the last couple of weeks in the comments sections of some stories on this. I hope they gave copies of their videos to someone trustworthy, hopefully in a different jurisdiction (any small Caribbean nation) to publish if the lawfare against them is successful.

*UPDATE* The legal beagles over at Popehat have confirmed my initial journalistic contention that the Court’s TRO is likely unconstitutional.

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