Planned Parenthood has been making journalists sign nondisclosure agreements in order to attend events, but backed off after a member of the media told them of plans to publicize that policy in a story.
Vice News reporter Carter Sherman wrote Friday that she had been asked by Planned Parenthood to sign an NDA as part of the registration to attend a media happy hour.
In the process of resisting this legally-binding agreement to surrender her ability to do her job as a reporter, she informed Planned Parenthood that she intended to write an article about the organization's use of NDAs for media. Immediately afterward, Sherman said Planned Parenthood emailed all journalists who were registered for the event to tell them they were not bound by the NDA.
In fact, the organization said, it was all a big mistake made by some anonymous member or members of their staff.
"It is not — and has not been — our official policy to require any reporter to sign an NDA that would prevent them from reporting an event we're asking them to cover, or for informal off-the-record events," Planned Parenthood communications director Erica Sackin told Vice in a statement. "In instances when we have asked reporters to do so, it has been the result of miscommunication and misunderstanding between staff, or of staff members out of an abundance of caution enforcing rules that should not apply to journalists."
If it was a mistake, it was not an isolated one. Sherman wrote that she was also asked to sign an NDA in 2018 when she wanted to cover a volunteer training event. The NDA prohibits the sharing of anything learned "through any means of communication or observation" from any Planned Parenthood-affiliated person.
Planned Parenthood recently won a case against two pro-life activists who recorded undercover video while discussing the sale of aborted fetus body parts with Planned Parenthood officials. The organization was awarded $2 million in damages.