Planned Parenthood files US lawsuit against group behind secret videos

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Planned Parenthood Not Invited To Congressional Hearing On Planned Parenthood

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit on Thursday arguing that a group acted illegally when it secretly recorded videos alleging the women's health organization profited from selling fetal tissue from abortions.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco against anti-abortion group the Center for Medical Progress alleges conspiracy and fraud among other violations in connection with the recordings.

See images of protests for and against Planned Parenthood:

20 PHOTOS
Recent Planned Parenthood Protests both for and against
See Gallery
Planned Parenthood files US lawsuit against group behind secret videos
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: Right to Life advocate Linda Heilman prays during a sit-in in front of a proposed Planned Parenthood location while demonstrating the group's opposition to congressional funding of Planned Parenthood on September 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Right to Life groups who took part in the protest are also calling on Pope Francis to 'address the pro-life issue and the defunding of Planned Parenthood' when he addresses Congress on September 24. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Planned Parenthood supporters rally for women's access to reproductive health care on ``National Pink Out Day'' at Los Angeles City Hall, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Planned Parenthood supporters rally for women's access to reproductive health care on ``National Pink Out Day'' at Los Angeles City Hall, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: Right to Life advocate Linda Heilman (L) prays during a sit-in in front of a proposed Planned Parenthood location while demonstrating the group's opposition to congressional funding of Planned Parenthood on September 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Right to Life groups who took part in the protest are also calling on Pope Francis to 'address the pro-life issue and the defunding of Planned Parenthood' when he addresses Congress on September 24. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: Right to Life advocates block 4th St. N.E. during a sit-in in front of a proposed Planned Parenthood location while demonstrating the group's opposition to congressional funding of Planned Parenthood on September 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Right to Life groups who took part in the protest are also calling on Pope Francis to 'address the pro-life issue and the defunding of Planned Parenthood' when he addresses Congress on September 24. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 16: Protesters hold signs protesting Planned Parenthood in front of the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill September 16, 2015 in Washington, DC. Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition urged the Republican leadership not to give taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
Opponents and supporters of Planned Parenthood demonstrate Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Philadelphia. Anti-abortion activists are calling for an end to government funding for the nonprofit reproductive services organization. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Opponents and supporters of Planned Parenthood demonstrate Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Philadelphia. Anti-abortion activists are calling for an end to government funding for the nonprofit reproductive services organization. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Erica Canaut, center, cheers as she and other anti-abortion activists rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol to condemn the use in medical research of tissue samples obtained from aborted fetuses, Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Anti-abortion activists demonstrate near a Planned Parenthood clinic Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Philadelphia. The protestors are calling for an end to government funding for the nonprofit reproductive services organization. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
An opponent and supporter of Planned Parenthood demonstrate Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Philadelphia. Anti-abortion activists are calling for an end to government funding for the nonprofit reproductive services organization. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Erica Canaut, center, cheers as she and other anti-abortion activists rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol to condemn the use in medical research of tissue samples obtained from aborted fetuses, Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Kathy Calver adjusts signs she placed on her shoes as she and other anti-abortion activists rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol to condemn the use in medical research of tissue samples obtained from aborted fetuses, Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson attends a anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 25: Director of Planned Parenthood of Utah Karrie Galloway speaks during Sex, Politics And Film Hosted By Lena Dunham And Planned Parenthood Action Fund - 2015 Park City at Wahso Asian Grill on January 25, 2015 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Sonia Recchia/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced a Senate deal to vote on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood before the Senate goes into recess in August. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 11: Women hold up signs during a women's pro-choice rally on Capitol Hill, July 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. The rally was hosted by Planned Parenthood Federation of America to urge Congress against passing any legislation to limit access to safe and legal abortion. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 11: Women hold up signs during a women's pro-choice rally on Capitol Hill, July 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. The rally was hosted by Planned Parenthood Federation of America to urge Congress against passing any legislation to limit access to safe and legal abortion. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

The videos, which were released in July, sparked widespread controversy by purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials trying to negotiate prices for aborted fetal tissue.

Under federal law, donated human fetal tissue may be used for research, but profiting from its sale is prohibited.

"This case is about a network of anti-abortion extremists and the laws they broke in order to spread lies and harm Planned Parenthood," Dawn Laguens, vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said on a conference call.

No Planned Parenthood staff were involved in any wrongdoing, Laguens said, and the organization has not profited from its tissue donation programs.

"This entire smear campaign is a fraud built on illegal acts and a web of lies," she said.

The Center for Medical Progress called the lawsuit "frivolous" in a statement.

"This last-ditch move of desperation is going to expose all of the sordid dealings of the California Planned Parenthood affiliates," the group said.

The 65-page complaint alleged the group is a "complex criminal enterprise" that violated racketeering laws, set up a fake company and secured false identification to access private abortion conferences and meetings in California, Maryland and Florida.

The complaint also accused the group of violation of privacy, fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of contract, and trespassing in connection with the video-recording campaign.

Attorneys for Planned Parenthood said that they were seeking unspecified damages.

Since the videos were released, Planned Parenthood has been targeted by Republican lawmakers in Congress and several states for funding cuts.

In addition, a gunman was accused of killing three people and wounding nine others in a Nov. 27 shooting rampage at one of their Colorado clinics.


More from AOL.com:
ISIS militants attack Jakarta in first strike at Indonesia
Donald Trump says his political movement is bigger than Reagan's
Paris cafe reopens after attacks as wounded city revives

Read Full Story

People are Reading