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CMP Petitions Judge To Allow Inclusion of Recordings in Brief Supporting Texas' HB 2

CMP on Friday asked a federal judge for permission to submit secretly recorded audio of a NAF conference barred from public release to the Supreme Court in an amicus brief supporting Texas' omnibus antiabortion-rights law (HB 2), Buzzfeed reports.

CMP Petitions Judge To Allow Inclusion of Recordings in Brief Supporting Texas' HB 2

January 26, 2016 — CMP on Friday asked a federal judge for permission to submit secretly recorded audio of a NAF conference barred from public release to the Supreme Court in an amicus brief supporting Texas' omnibus antiabortion-rights law (HB 2), Buzzfeed reports (Vergano, Buzzfeed, 1/22).

Background on CMP Footage

Last year, Judge William Orrick of the Northern District of California issued a temporary restraining order against CMP after NAF filed a lawsuit against the organization. The order blocked CMP from releasing any of its secretly recorded video footage of NAF's annual meetings in 2014 and 2015, as well as from releasing dates of NAF's future meetings and the names and addresses of NAF members (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/25/15).

Background on Challenge to Texas' HB 2

The Supreme Court is slated on March 2 to hear a challenge to Texas' HB 2. The case, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, centers on two provisions. One requires abortion clinics in the state to meet the same building standards as ambulatory surgical centers, and the other requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

If the court rules for the state, the number of clinics will fall to about 10, compared with about 40 before the law took effect.

The Supreme Court in June 2015 issued an order that temporarily blocks HB 2's ambulatory surgical center requirement. There was debate about whether the high court's order also blocked the law's admitting privileges requirement (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/6).

CMP Request

Thomas Ciesielka, a spokesperson for the law firm representing CMP, said Daleiden would be held in contempt of court if he files an amicus brief that includes the blocked audio tapes unless he obtains Orrick's permission. According to Buzzfeed, including such information in a Supreme Court brief would release it into the public domain.

Separately, Derek Foran, an attorney for NAF, said, "This is just another attempt by this group to undermine the TRO (temporary restraining order) which they've tried before many times." He added, "Even though there's nothing on these tapes, they try to put them out there and make ridiculous allegations that threaten the safety of abortion clinic providers" (Buzzfeed, 1/22).