The following comes from an August 29 Sacramento Bee article by Alexei Koseff:
California lawmakers’ response to the controversial series of videos that purported to show Planned Parenthood breaking the law has alienated some liberal allies of the organization, which is now negotiating changes to save its bill in the final days of the session.
Assembly Bill 1671, by Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, would make it a crime to distribute recordings of a private conversation with a health care provider that were made without their consent. Penalties for the proposed new crime would be similar to those that already exist for making unauthorized recordings of a conversation in California.
The bill’s sponsor, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said that stronger deterrents are needed for groups like the Irvine-based Center for Medical Progress, which sparked a national outcry last summer by releasing undercover videos that it claimed showed Planned Parenthood officials selling aborted fetuses.
But critics, who also have the ear of the same Democratic lawmakers that are Planned Parenthood’s strongest legislative allies, are raising objections over the consequences of the bill.
Kevin Baker, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union of California, said they share Planned Parenthood’s concerns about privacy, but the measure is written too broadly and could inadvertently catch people in criminal activity. Lawyers and journalists who share material from a whistleblower, he said, could be held liable for aiding and abetting.
With time running out before Wednesday’s legislative deadline, amendments are still being floated to win over skeptical members of the Senate, where AB 1671 awaits a vote.
“Everyone is supportive of Planned Parenthood, because it was a terrible thing that happened to them,” said Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley. But she doesn’t want to see a solution that punishes media organizations for exposing information that would benefit the public.