Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Bill Criminalizing Journalists Who Distribute Recordings of Abortion Providers

Tim Huelskamp

A bill sponsored by Planned Parenthood that criminalizes the distribution of recordings of conversations with abortion providers is now law in California.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1671 into law, making it illegal for journalists to distribute audio or video recordings of healthcare providers without their consent.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, Planned Parenthood pushed the bill through the legislature even though it is already illegal to make these types of recordings without authorization in California. The abortion business argued that further punishment was needed for distributing the materials.

Spearheaded by Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles), the new law comes as Planned Parenthood is desperately attempting to suppress information regarding its “baby parts” scandal. Last year, undercover journalists from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released a series of videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s alleged practices of exchanging the tissues of babies it aborts for monetary consideration and altering the position of babies during abortion to maximize the chance of harvesting intact organs.

Opponents of the bill have expressed concern about its potential to violate the First Amendment rights of the press and to obstruct journalists’ job of providing information that is in the best interests of the public. In the case of Planned Parenthood – which receives more than half-a-billion dollars in taxpayer funds – it is in the interest of taxpayers to know if their money is spent on potentially criminal behavior, such as the sale of body parts of aborted babies for profit.

“The Center for Medical Progress never recorded ‘confidential’ communications, so California’s existing recording law and the new distribution provision are simply inapplicable to our work,” says CMP project lead David Daleiden about the new law. He added:

However, it is clear that Planned Parenthood does not want to be held accountable to the public whose taxpayer money it gladly takes by the hundreds of millions, and will even attack freedom of speech and the freedom of the press in order to maintain its own arbitrary levels of secrecy.

While Planned Parenthood has denied any wrongdoing in the baby organ scandal, its president, Cecile Richards, also released a statement last October, announcing it will no longer accept payments for aborted fetal tissue. The narrative put forward at that point was that the videos produced by CMP were “deceptively edited.”

Nevertheless, a Democrat opposition research firm named Fusion, hired by Planned Parenthood itself to review the videos, said that while its staff observed the videos had been edited – as most videos are – “the analysis did not reveal widespread evidence of substantive video manipulation.”

Additionally, Fusion noted, “Analysts found no evidence that CMP inserted dialogue not spoken by Planned Parenthood staff.”

An analysis by Coalfire, a third-party forensics company hired by Alliance Defending Freedom, found that the videos were “not manipulated” and that they are “authentic.”


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