– Amended bill does NOT shield media from prosecution –
ARLINGTON, VA (September 1, 2016) — Late last night, the California Senate passed a Planned Parenthood-backed bill that makes it a crime for investigative journalists and others to secretly record and distribute undercover footage of conversations of abortion workers. Planned Parenthood could attempt to pass similar bans in other states.
The bill was amended Tuesday to exclude media outlets from prosecution if they only distribute footage. However, if they record the undercover footage themselves, they can be prosecuted.
Following is a statement from Lila Rose, president and founder of national pro-life organization Live Action:
“For years, investigative journalists have recorded and exposed Planned Parenthood facilities across the country covering up for sex traffickers, failing to report child sexual abusers, and trafficking in baby body parts. Instead of being compelled to be more transparent with the public, taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood wants to jail journalists and whistleblowers who record and distribute footage that shows it potentially breaking the law.
“The California Newspaper Publishers Association — not an organization that’s necessarily sympathetic to the pro-life cause – said even the newly amended version of the bill still ‘potentially criminalizes speech.’ Planned Parenthood is brazenly attacking the First Amendment, aided and abetted by California legislators who are protecting a major campaign donor.
“When the public funds half of Planned Parenthood’s operations, it has a right to know that its money isn’t being used to break the law or commit abuses, and governments should be taking steps to make things more transparent, not less. Americans understand that abortion is a grave act, and with Planned Parenthood committing over 320,000 abortions each year, investigative journalists and whistleblowers have been the ones exposing the many abuses that often accompany it.
“This bill doesn’t protect women; instead, it puts Planned Parenthood above the law and lets it hide potentially illegal and abusive activity from public view. If this bill becomes law in California, Planned Parenthood could attempt to pass similar bans all over the country.”