Abortion Doctor Sues Conservative Media Sites For Defamation

Mar 15, 2019, 4:57 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:14 pm
(Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) — A well-known abortion rights activist from Utah has filed a lawsuit against three conservative media publications for defamation, says that online stories spread misinformation that she cut the throats of fetuses during abortions.

Dr. Leah Torres, a former Salt Lake City obstetrician-gynecologist, says in a lawsuit filed Wednesday that stories written by three conservative outlets in March 2018 painted her as a doctor who conducted unlawful abortions, leading to scourging harassment online and job loss. She says her personal information and the address and phone number of her clinic were released online.

Torres said she was fired by her employer for violating a provision in her contract requiring her to uphold her “professional reputation.” She is not suing the company and didn’t name it in the lawsuit. She said she had to move away from Utah after not finding another job for nine months.

Torres is seeking at least $75,000 for defamation, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress by The Daily Caller, The Western Journal and Liftable Media.

Phone calls and emails to those news outlets were not immediately returned on Friday.

“The internet has been weaponized by anti-abortion extremists to amplify and distort information, as a result causing online and offline harassment, stalking and violence against abortion providers and advocates,” Torres’ lawyers wrote in the lawsuit filed in federal court in Utah.

Her attorney Carrie Goldberg said Friday that Torres was “harassed mercilessly by the trolls who were incited by the fake information.”

The lawsuit claims the harassment started when Torres, who maintains a blog and active Twitter feed, replied to a comment on Twitter referring to her work as “infanticide” and asking her whether she hears screams at night.

Torres noted that fetuses don’t have the ability to scream and that she cuts the “cord” to perform the abortion. Torres later clarified that she was referring to the umbilical cord, not the vocal cord.

The Daily Caller, the defendant with the largest reach at 5.3 million followers on Facebook, was the first publication to post an article online stating that “an abortion doctor recently sent a disgusting tweet about cutting the throats of fetuses so they can’t scream,” identifying Torres by name.

The story was picked up by other media outlets, including Western Journal and Liftable Media. Torres said that led to an onslaught of harassment and personal attacks against Torres on social media

While living in Utah, Torres was an ardent defender of abortion rights, challenging legislators and lawmakers to explain policy decisions that affected the fetus and mother. She didn’t say in the lawsuit where she is living now.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

FILE (Keith Johnson, Deseret News)...
Brooke Williams

UTA cutting back bus routes due to short-staffing

Utah Transit Authority is implementing route changes in December, as well as company procedures, because of staffing shortages. Less frequent busses are necessary given the current staff, and additional employee benefits are an effort to recruit people to operate busses.
14 hours ago
Utah Highway Patrol troopers were citing unsafe drivers on I-15 near the Point of the Mountain. (KS...
Matt Rascon

UHP cracks down on unsafe drivers along I-15

Utah Highway Patrol troopers were out in force Wednesday, to remind drivers to slow down along a stretch of I-15 known for its speeding.
14 hours ago
Mike Headrick

3-legged dog gives Utah boy courage to deal with rare genetic disorder

A Utah boy was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition and needed to make a life-altering decision. With the help of a three-legged dog, he was able to do just that.
14 hours ago
Follow @https://twitter.com/jellis9...
Josh Ellis

Suspect arrested in connection to ritualistic child sex abuse investigation

The Utah County Sheriff's Office announced a suspect has been arrested in connection with a ritualistic child sex abuse investigation.
14 hours ago
Madison Swenson

Ramp closed in Salt Lake City after semi carrying tar overturns

One person was taken to the hospital Wednesday after a semi-truck hauling tar rolled in Salt Lake City.
14 hours ago
(Chopper 5/KSL TV)...
Logan Stefanich, KSL.com

Nodding to the past, looking to the future. Utah’s Kennecott again mining copper underground

The Kennecott Copper Mine has been a fixture of the Salt Lake Valley for over 100 years and on Tuesday, the mine announced that it will be moving mining operations underground in its next step to extract copper.
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Abortion Doctor Sues Conservative Media Sites For Defamation