Pro-life group wins defamation fight with Stericycle
Abortion | Illinois judge dismisses lawsuit filed by company that handles Planned Parenthood’s ‘medical waste’
by Samantha Gobba
Posted 9/30/16, 05:06 pm
An Illinois judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit against pro-life group Created Equal brought by a waste company that handles the remains of Planned Parenthood’s aborted babies.
Stericycle, which transports medical and hazardous waste, filed suit against Created Equal after the group launched a campaign dubbed “#ProjectWeakLink” to expose the business’ connection to the nation’s leading abortion provider.
CEO Charles Alutto accused Created Equal of false light invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and defamation.
Judge Margaret Marcouiller dismissed all three charges, though attorneys may refile the emotional distress claim.
During its campaign, Created Equal printed postcards featuring an aborted baby, Alutto’s home address and business phone number, and the phrase, “Charles Alutto enables baby killing” emblazoned beside Alutto’s photo. It distributed them to the neighborhoods near Alutto’s home.
It also drove through the same neighborhoods with a portable billboard containing the hashtag “#killersamongus,” along with a photo of an aborted baby, Alutto’s photograph, his home address, and other contact information.
As a result of the campaign, Alutto received more than 500 emails and 300 voicemails at his business.
“[We wanted] a publicly traded, Fortune 500, international, billion-dollar company affiliated with Planned Parenthood to be held accountable for disposing of aborted babies and the instruments used to kill them,” Mark Harrington, Created Equal’s national director, told me. “And we want the CEO to answer for that, and that’s why we did what we did, and obviously we got their attention.”
Stericycle’s attorneys argued the company has a “strict” corporate rule against transporting human remains and that it has terminated contracts with more than 400 customers, including some Planned Parenthood facilities, that refused to certify they would not put aborted babies in their trash.
“There was no inspection, there was no enforcement,” Tom Brejcha, president of the Thomas More Society, which defended Created Equal, told me. “The obvious truth is that they certainly handled human remains, because that’s where they go from all these Planned Parenthood facilities.”
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine published a report in December noting Stericycle was the sole recipient of waste from a Planned Parenthood facility in Ohio, mixing fetal remains with ordinary household trash at landfills.
That report, along with a leaked video taken secretly by David Daleiden’s Center for Medical Progress, sparked Harrington’s campaign against Stericycle.
In the video, abortionist Renee Chelian talks about the woes of Planned Parenthood’s disposal problem.
“We thought, ‘We’ll give it to everybody in a gift bag. They can take it home, figure out what to do with it. And it’s their pregnancy, and why is this our problem?’ And I’m saying that in all seriousness,” Chelian said.
Chuckles filled the room as she continued, saying she was so desperate to get rid of five months’ worth of fetal tissue, “I was ready to drive to upper Michigan and have a bonfire.”
Without trucks to carry away aborted babies, she said, the facilities would have to close.
Harrington said he thinks Stericycle cares less about its public image than it does about continuing a relationship with Planned Parenthood.
“Any company with any sense would drop them in a minute,” he said. “It has to do with supporting abortion.”
He and his team plan to continue their campaign against Stericycle unless the company breaks ties with the abortion giant.
And despite Created Equal’s use of what Brejcha called “aggressive” tactics, he thinks his client never said anything untrue or crossed any legal lines.
“I think it’s a lesson that First Amendment rights are there to be utilized, and I think what Mark Harrington and Created Equal did here is a landmark example for other pro-lifers not to hold back but to make their voices heard,” he said. “Otherwise, the silence will be deafening. There’s too much truth here to be kept quiet.”
Samantha reports on the pro-life movement for WORLD Digital.