GENEVA IL - Friday, a Kane County Circuit Court judge denied Planned Parenthood of Illinois and its former head Steve Trombley a motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought against them by the Pro-Life Action League. The suit alleges that Planned Parenthood lied when it tried to tie the Pro-Life Action League to violence in four separate public communications.
Planned Parenthood bought full page ads in the Daily Herald and Aurora Beacon News suggesting the Pro-Life Action League had a "well documented history of advocating violence." The ad included a photo of a bombed-out abortion clinic in Michigan.
The first ad, which ran in the Beacon on September 6, 2007, was followed by a “cease and desist” letter from the Thomas More Society on behalf their clients. This letter demanded a “prompt and public retraction of false, libelous, and malicious statements.” Planned Parenthood responded with an ad that was more inflammatory and accusatory than the original.
“No one should have to suffer the kind of vicious and false accusations of violence that the Pro-Life Action League has suffered,” said Thomas More Society Special Counsel Peter Breen. “This ruling means that the Pro-Life Action League will finally have the opportunity to clear its name in court against Planned Parenthood’s lies. The League twice beat Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry before the U.S. Supreme Court in a related case, and we look forward to mounting a vigorous prosecution of these defamation claims.”
The abortion provider’s defense cited a jury verdict in the trial court in NOW v. Scheidler, a verdict reversed and vacated in two decisions by the United States Supreme Court. That long running case, brought by abortion clinics and the National Organization for Women against the Pro-Life Action League and its founder Joseph Scheidler, father of current League executive director Eric Scheidler. The suit sought to apply federal racketeering laws, intended to stop organized crime, to the League’s peaceful pro-life advocacy.
This case had been delayed for years, due to appeals on issues unrelated to the merits of the defamation claims brought by the Pro-Life Action League.