Recordings secretly made by an anti-abortion group at meetings of abortion providers do not show criminal activity and could put the providers at risk, a federal judge said Friday, citing the recent shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic. US District Judge William Orrick made the comments during a hearing over the National Abortion Federation's request for a preliminary injunction that would continue to block the release of the recordings. Orrick did not immediately issue a ruling. He previously issued a temporary restraining order blocking the recordings pending the outcome of the preliminary injunction hearing.
Planned Parenthood has said it abides by a law that allows providers to be reimbursed for the costs of processing tissue donated by women who have had abortions. The videos have riled anti-abortion activists and fueled discussion in Congress about cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood. The National Abortion Federation says the release of any audio or video would put members in danger. Orrick seemed to agree, saying doctors who have appeared in videos released by the center have received death threats. He also cited suspected arson at abortion clinics and the November shooting at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic that left three people dead and nine wounded. (The suspected shooter called himself "a warrior for the babies.")