Sunday, August 09, 2015

Skirting the Courts to Air Anti-Abortion Videos Attacking California Human Tissue Firm

Conservative organizations are exploring ways to sidestep judicial actions that have put a halt to some of the anti-abortion videos dogging a California stem cell/human tissue firm.

One proposal calls for Congressional committees to place the videos on the public record as a result of a Congressional request. The argument goes that the judges cannot prevent a Congressional hearing at which the videos are presented.

The company involved is StemExpress of Placerville, which was identified in videos taken surreptitiously by anti-abortion activists who used false names and a fake company to win the confidence of Planned Parenthood officials.

Both Senate and House committees are looking into the videos, deploring what was said about obtaining human tissue by the Planned Parenthood employees. Federal and state officials are looking into possible criminal violations by the anti-abortion activists who failed to get legal consent for recording the comments by Planned Parenthood officials.

StemExpress has won a temporary restraining order against further distribution of the videos, arguing that the firm has already been harmed and could be irreparably damaged. The firm also said violence has been threatened against company employees as a result of the videos.

Lawyers with the Heritage Foundation, Hans von Spakovsky and Elizabeth Slattery, wrote last week about the order in an item headlined,
“How Lawmakers Can Beat Planned Parenthood’s Stalling Tactics.”
They said, 
“No federal or state judge has the authority to prevent a congressional committee from holding a hearing at which witnesses … testify about their experiences or where the committee presents evidence it has obtained such as the undercover videos, which could also be posted on the committee’s website.” 
The WND website today picked up the lawyers’ suggestion. Bob Unruh wrote that the issue will escalate despite the current Congressional break. He quoted the Family Research Council as saying,
“The political pressure cooker will only get hotter back home when members hear from unhappy voters firsthand.”
The Congressional ploy would additionally­­ involve the National Abortion Federation, which has also won a restraining order on the videos. Hearings on both temporary restraining orders are scheduled for later this month in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In a related development, another California tissue firm, Advanced Bioscience Resources of Alameda, surfaced on the Politico Web site in connection with the controversy.

Jennifer Haberkorn and Brett Norman wrote,
“One of the companies (Advanced Bioscience)­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ identified as a fetal tissue supplier in sting videos of Planned Parenthood counts two federal health agencies among its customers, earning at least $300,000 for material used in research of treatments for HIV and eye disease….” 
In addition to a House committee, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has requested information from StemExpress, Advanced Biosciences and Novogenix Laboratories, LLC, of Los Angelesabout their policies, practices and revenue.
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