News & Politics

California Moves to Criminalize Filming Planned Parenthood

In a not very transparent effort to punish conservatives for catching Planned Parenthood breaking the law, the California legislature is considering a bill to ban undercover video recordings of “health care providers.”

Washington Times:

AB 1671, which has been backed by Planned Parenthood, would criminalize the publication of confidential interactions with state-licensed medical personnel, including abortionists and clinic staff, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $10,000 fine per violation.

Introduced by Los Angeles Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, the bill has received criticism from both pro-life activists and those who worry about its potential to chill free speech and investigative journalism.

Lila Rose, president and founder of Live Action, said the Planned Parenthood-backed legislation is an effort to decrease transparency at the nation’s largest abortion provider.

“For years, undercover journalists have documented Planned Parenthoodemployees covering up for sex traffickers, failing to report child sexual abusers, and trafficking in baby body parts,” Ms. Rose said in a statement. “Rather than be more transparent with the public, Planned Parenthood wants to make it a crime for the media to publish evidence that it might be doing something illegal.”

Ms. Rose pointed out that since Planned Parenthood receives public funding in order to keep its doors open, the public has a right to know what goes on behind those doors.

“A watchdog media is a cornerstone of a democratic society, and when the public funds half of the abortion giant’s operations, it has a right to know that its money isn’t being used to break the law or commit abuses,” she said.

On its website, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California Action Funds describes AB 1671 as a “key improvement that closes a current loophole in privacy laws around illegal videotaping.” The group could not be reached for comment.

Several state publishing and broadcasting groups have come out against the bill, which initially banned any secret recordings without the consent of all parties before being trimmed to apply only to content involving “health care providers.”

“AB 1671 seeks to criminalize the exchange of information,” Ms. Moore wrote. “It exposes the media and individuals alike to criminal penalties for simply pushing send button on an email. And it ties the hands of California journalists whose job is to report on issues of public concern.”

CNPA testified against AB 1671 during deliberations, and in a press release issued May 27, described the bill as a “content based regulation and presumptively unconstitutional.”

This is outrageous. An organization that is funded by the taxpayer to the tune of $500 million is shielded by politicians because some of its activities are illegal?

Imagine the CBS news show 60 Minutes being prevented from surreptitiously recording wrongdoing at government agencies or private businesses. The videos over the past few years that have demonstrated the hypocrisy, the secrecy, the violations of ethics and the law by Planned Parenthood have been an embarrassment for the organization and led to several investigations. PP has been able to squash most efforts to examine their procedures and actions which is why the videos are so valuable.

This is an organization that plays dirty and throws its weight around to get what it wants. The Democratic legislature of California is likely to acquiesce to this pressure and the people of the state will be poorer and less informed because of it.