2017 Morrison & Foerster Pro Bono Report

NO MATTER WHICH SIDE OF THE ABORTION ISSUE YOU ARE ON, LEGAL PROTECTIONS APPLY. NO ONE CAN TAKE THE LAW INTO HIS OR HER HANDS. DEREK FORAN PERPETRATING A MASSIVE FRAUD The crux of the case was the fraudulent means that the anti-choice activists used to gain access to NAF meetings. This included creating a fake biomedical tissue procurement company, assuming false identities, and signing confidentiality agreements that they failed to follow. “No matter which side of the abortion issue you are on, legal protections apply,” says Derek. “No one can take the law into his or her hands. We’re not talking about people lawfully advocating for change, or standing outside a clinic and holding up signs. People have First Amendment rights to do those things. What these people did was perpetrate a massive fraudulent scheme that violated our client’s right to privacy and First Amendment freedom of association.” Protecting the safety of NAF members is a priority. Many of these providers are such high-profile targets of anti-abortion extremists that they wear bullet-proof vests to work. NAF meetings are one of the few places where they can come together to learn about the latest research and advances in their field. The MoFo team quickly secured a temporary restraining order against the activists, preventing further release of any information or tapes collected at the meetings and blocking the activists’ access to future meetings. A federal district court granted NAF’s motion for a preliminary injunction in February 2016, citing the safety and security of abortion providers and their staff, and in early 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the order. “One thing this case taught me is that MoFo is different,” says Derek. “I told management it would be controversial, and yet I received approval to proceed in just six hours. At its peak, 28 people were working on the case, and it’s been an emotional experience for all of us.” The MoFo team representing NAF received the organization’s 2016 Christopher Tietze Humanitarian Award. The award is NAF’s highest distinction. Prior honorees include the ACLU, Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, and three U.S. senators. “Our work allows abortion providers to get continuing education so that abortion is not only available to women, but becomes increasingly safer. If our client doesn’t have the right to associate in private to protect other people’s constitutional rights, then Roe v. Wade is dead,” says Derek. “Our case is about the rule of law.” 12 | Morrison & Foerster Pro Bono Report