Pro-life activists are finding common cause with media organizations and even some pro-“choice” supporters in an effort to stop California legislation they say would not only wound the cause for life but strike lethal blows to the First Amendment to the Constitution.
At issue is AB 1671 authored by State Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles. The bill, already approved by the appropriations committee, would ban secretly recording conversations with health-care providers and releasing them via media or social media in any way. Violators, and anyone who assists them, could face substantial financial penalties and jail time.
“The bill will ultimately provide penalties up to $10,000 and a year in jail for anybody who would not only film a ‘confidential conversation,’ which has a very broad definition, with any Planned Parenthood or abortion facility or abortionist, but also anyone who distributes that footage,” said Live Action President Lila Rose, who herself rose to prominence posing as a pregnant teenager in undercover videos at Planned Parenthood facilities.
She told WND and Radio America the implications of this law, if passed, are chilling.
“That means if Radio America or Fox News or even CNN were to somehow play any part of that video, they as distributors of it and reporting on it, would also be held liable and be up for criminal penalty,” Rose said.
And it’s not just media outlets that could be prosecuted. Anyone who re-tweets such a video would be fair game.
“This isn’t just about the individual investigative journalist. This is about anyone on social media, anyone in print or news or broadcasting, who then goes on to publicize what the findings of the investigative journalists were,” Rose said. “It’s an incredible assault on freedom of speech, quite frankly, and, of course, freedom of the press.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Lila Rose:
Rose said there is no doubt the legislation is an urgent reaction to last year’s undercover videos from the Center for Medical Progress, in which Planned Parenthood officials casually discuss killing unborn children and negotiate the prices for babies’ body parts.
“It’s absolutely in response to the word getting out about Planned Parenthood’s abusive activities,” Rose said. “That includes CMP’s blockbuster exposing of Planned Parenthood in California, and executives like Dr. Mary Gatter in Pasadena discussing the sale and manipulation of the abortion procedure at Planned Parenthood in order to have more sellable parts.”
The bill passed 14-6 in committee. Rose cannot say the fight against the bill will be successful given the liberal makeup of the California Legislature and the many abortion lobbyists in Sacramento. Still, she is encouraged by some unlikely allies in this particular fight, such as the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the California Broadcaster’s Association and even the Motion Picture Association.
“All of them are opposing the bill, saying, ‘This is crazy. This means if we publish any of this footage, all of a sudden we are culpable and we are going to be up for criminal penalty,” Rose said. “It’s not American. It’s not democratic and it’s certainly not constitutional.”
While the immediate battle is concerning enough, Rose sees this fight as the latest manifestation of the left trying to criminalize and ostracize speech that opposes liberal doctrine.
“It’s really dangerous to see this thread in our country that’s expanding, where a group of people do not think straight, are not logical and have certain ideologies,” Rose said. “In the name of tolerance, they’re shutting down any voice that comes up against them. It’s a full-out battle in our country right now for hearts and minds, and we all need to be fighting that battle.”
She said the group’s recent videos succinctly explaining what happens during abortions have received 44 million views in the past 90 days. Rose said Live Action is looking to bring its pro-life message to millions of Americans one at a time.
“We really need to put the building blocks in place so that people know the truth: the truth about abortion, what it does to the child, how it hurts women,” she said. “They know the truth about the abortion industry. We give them those fundamental facts in a strategic, compelling way. Then we can win elections and then we can change the course of the nation, but it starts one heart and one mind at a time.”