SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Following controversy over undercover videos filmed by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) into the practices of Planned Parenthood, a lawmaker in California has introduced a bill that would make secretly recording inside abortion facilities punishable by up to a year behind bars.
“It is the intent of the legislature to enact legislation to prohibit any person from intentionally video recording a confidential communication, or disclosing or distributing that video-recording communication, without obtaining the consent of all parties to the communication,” A.B. 1671, introduced by Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez ,reads.
It criminalizes any person who “intentionally discloses or attempts to disclose, or distributes or attempts to distribute, distributes, in any manner, in any forum, including, but not limited to, Internet Web sites and social media, or for any purpose, the contents of the a confidential communication with a health care provider.”
Violations may result in up to a year behind bars and/or a $2,500 fine. Repeat offenders may face up to a $10,000 fine.
Publishing and broadcasting groups had expressed opposition to the bill until it was amended to include language applying specifically to health care providers.
Planned Parenthood has now expressed its support of the measure, calling it “a key improvement that closes a current loophole in privacy laws around illegal videotaping.” It has also issued a letter urging lawmakers to “support AB 1671 (Gomez) to prohibit the distribution of illegally obtained video tapes and protect privacy.”
But pro-life groups have expressed concern over the proposed legislation, stating that it not only violates the First Amendment but also would prohibit evidence of criminal activity from being obtained and turned over to authorities.
“For years, undercover journalists have documented Planned Parenthood employees covering up for sex traffickers, failing to report child sexual abusers, and trafficking in baby body parts,” Lila Rose of Live Action 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.”
She remarked that because Planned Parenthood is publicly funded, Americans need to know about the activities at the organization.
“This bill puts Planned Parenthood’s interests ahead of the First Amendment, its clients, and the public, and it would keep evidence of illegal or abusive activity hidden from nearly everyone’s view,” Rose stated.
As previously reported, CMP’s David Daleiden released a series of undercover videos last year after he had posed as a representative of a fetal tissue procurement company in order to engage in discussions with Planned Parenthood officials as a potential buyer of bodily organs. He recorded the interactions, conducted at various locations across the country, as part of his “human capital” investigative series.
The first of nearly a dozen videos was released by CMP featured Planned Parenthood Medical Director Deborah Nucatola, who nonchalantly munched on salad and sipped wine as she talked about adjusting the child so as not to crush certain organs due to the demand for the body part.
“I’d say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps,” she explains.
“[Y]ou’re just kind of cognizant where you put your graspers,” Nucatola outlines. “You try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that—-you know. We’ve been very good at getting the heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so ‘I’m not gonna crush that part. I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.’”
The second video showed Mary Gatter, the president of Planned Parenthood’s Medical Directors Council, haggling with the undercover investigators about the compensation for the fetal organs, laughing, “I want a Lamborghini.” Other footage showed an actual aborted baby being dissected in a dish, with an assistant declaring, “Another boy!” and another video showed an abortionist laughing about how harvesting an intact baby head would be “something to strive for.”
Planned Parenthood apologized for the insensitive “tone” of the first video, but denied that it profits from its agreements with scientific organizations. It soon announced that it would stop receiving reimbursement for “expenses” surrounding the provision of body parts of aborted babies. The abortion giant argued that the dead babies were beneficial in research to find cures for diseases.