Attack on the Press: AB 1671

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Last summer, David Daleiden from the Center for Medical Progress made national news by releasing videos revealing how Planned Parenthood officials sell the body parts of the unborn children they abort.  He used hidden cameras, posed as a purchaser of fetal tissue, and got Planned Parenthood officials to admit how they altered abortion procedures and sold the tissue for profit.  This led to extensive Congressional hearings, along with efforts to take away government funding for the abortion giant both at the federal and state levels.  David follows in the footsteps of other pro-life pioneers like Lila Rose from Live Action, who did undercover video investigations to demonstrate how abortion clinics fail to report incidents of statutory rape.

But now, the California Legislature is attempting to criminalize the kinds of investigations that exposed the immoral activity of the abortion industry.  Currently, in California (as in many other states) it is illegal for one person to record a conversation without the other person’s permission or knowledge.  Nevertheless, it is not illegal to distribute such a conversation.  AB 1671 criminalizes the distribution of secretly recorded communications, but only communications with healthcare providers.  The penalties are stiff: up to a year in prison, and fines of $2,500 for a first offense and $10,000 for a second offense.

The only silver lining to this law is that it is probably unconstitutional.  (Yeah, it’s a bad state of affairs when that’s the silver lining).  The Supreme Court has held that prohibitions on the dissemination of speech, even speech that was obtained through illegal means, is an unconstitutional prohibition on speech, and in this case it is a content-based prohibition (a constitutional no-no).

A number of legislators, including Assemblyman Jim Patterson of Fresno, have strongly objected to this attack on the press.  It’s clear that Planned Parenthood is trying to protect their business in California and using their friends in the Legislature to do it.  We hope you’ll join us in opposing this massive violation of the First Amendment.

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