Abortion Clinics’ Attempt to Squash Pro-Life Speech Fails

The video produced by an abortion mill, Northland Family Planning Clinics, “Every Day, Good Women Choose Abortion” sought to persuade young women facing unwanted pregnancies that abortion is a “good” and “normal” decision.   However, when two pro-life organizations, Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (“CBR”) and The Apologetics Group produced parodies of their video, the outraged abortionists filed a federal lawsuit in a California Federal District Court claiming violations of the Copyright Act.

The entire purpose of crafting the parodies was to use clips of the Northland video to transform the work and expose its deadly lies.

The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, came to the defense of CBR and The Apologetics Group.   And on Friday, June 15, 2012, Federal District Court Judge James V. Selna of the Central District of California dismissed the abortionist’s case.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center commented, “This is a tremendous victory for the Pro-Life movement and their constitutional rights to free speech.  Abortionists don’t want the public to know the truth, that abortion is the taking of innocent human life.  So they do everything they can to squash that truth, including using the courts.  In this case they utterly failed.”

Some versions of the pro-life videos included quotations from the Bible and George Orwell, and original musical scores.  The judge referenced CBR and The Apologetics Group’s “abundantly clear message is that deciding to have an abortion is anything but a ‘normal decision’ made by ‘good women,’” and stated that their videos exposed “the gruesome and seemingly savage ‘reality’ of an abortion procedure.”

Judge Selna noted in his opinion that “before this lawsuit was filed, communication between the Defendants [CBR and The Apologetics Group] shows that the purpose of the Videos was to dispel the ‘falsities’ of the Northland Video, and to create a ‘parody’ contrasting the ‘soothing lies of the narrator . . .and the terrible truths of abortion.’”

In his opinion, Judge Selna discussed the character of videos created by the Thomas More Law Center’s clients, “The narrative from the Northland Video continues while the screen shows graphic, up-close images of the surgical procedure of dismembering and removing fetuses, many of which have discernible limbs or appear to be nearly viable. . . [the] [v]ideo closes with Northland’s name, telephone number, and the words ‘Your Dead baby at 10 to 12 weeks,’ superimposed over a bloody, dismembered fetus” because the most common time for women to undergo abortion is during 10 to 12 weeks into the development of the baby.

Northland Family Planning Clinics complained that CBR and The Apologetics Group’s videos killed the demand of their “Every Day, Good Women Choose Abortion” video and ruined their potential sale and licensing pursuits.  The Court, in adopting the Thomas More Law Center’s position, responded by quoting the United States Supreme Court, “when a lethal parody, like a scathing theater review, kills the demand for the original, it does not produce a harm cognizable under the Copyright Act.”

An attorney on the case, Erin Mersino, commented, “Our clients’ videos were clearly transformative.  The court made the right decision by throwing out this baseless lawsuit filled with wrongful accusations.”

Click here to read Judge Selna’s decision.

This article is courtesy of the Thomas More Law Center. The Law Center defends and promotes the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life through education, litigation and related activities. It does not charge for its services. The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at www.thomasmore.org.