Planned Parenthood is claiming that the group that took secret videos of its internal operations acted illegally. The women's health organization filed a federal lawsuit on Thursday, saying that they were secretly and inappropriately recorded. The group says that the video recordings resulted in false accusations that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal tissues it collected during abortions.

The lawsuit was initiated in San Francisco. The defendant is an anti-abortion organization called the Center for Medical Progress. Allegations against the group include fraud, conspiracy and other legal violations related to the recordings.

Video Recordings Caused Massive Controversy

The videos were released last July and resulted in massive controversy and criticism of Planned Parenthood because they appear to show Planned Parenthood employees negotiating the price of sale for fetal tissues collected during abortions. The group has since become the target of Republican lawmakers who want to cut back funding.

Planned Parenthood is permitted to use fetal tissues for research purposes under federal law, but it cannot profit from selling them.

According to Planned Parenthood, the case centers around anti-abortion extremists that broke the law while spreading lies with the specific intent to hurt Planned Parenthood. According to the lawsuit, no one employed by Planned Parenthood appeared in the videos. Furthermore, the organization says that it has never profited financially from the donation of fetal tissues. Planned Parenthood Federation of America Vice President Dawn Laguens said, "This entire smear campaign is a fraud built on illegal acts and a web of lies."

Abortion Group Says the Lawsuit Is Frivolous

The Center for Medical Progress says that the lawsuit is frivolous. The group issued a statement saying that "this last-ditch move of desperation is going to expose all of the sordid dealings of the California Planned Parenthood affiliates." According to the 65-page legal complaint submitted by attorneys representing Planned Parenthood, however, the Center for Medical Progress is a complicated criminal enterprise that used false identification, created a fake business and broke racketeering laws in order to secure access to confidential abortion meetings.

Whether this legal matter will help to prove Planned Parenthood's innocence in this controversy, and whether the Center for Medical Progress and its leaders will be punished for their alleged wrongdoing, remains to be seen.