New “rights” are dis-establishing the First AmendmentOctober 6, 2016
When religious liberty advocates raised concern how the new rights to sexual expression reduce the First Amendment right of freedom of religion to “freedom of worship,” many civil rights advocates argued we were overreacting. But now that the First Amendment guarantees of speech and press are under the withering reductive forces of Planned Parenthood and the government, the chorus of concern is rising from the media and ACLU as well.
Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press? Not if they’re pro-life
At issue is a Planned Parenthood backed bill signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown that is designed to stop journalists and whistleblowers from going undercover to investigate “health care providers.” Why? Well, remember the videos produced by The Center for Medical Progress featuring undercover footage of Planned Parenthood personnel and doctors discussing the procurement and sale of baby parts over wine? Planned Parenthood, with the government as its enforcer, wants to keep anything like that from ever happening again. So, although the Democrat Party wants taxpayers to fund abortions, they don’t want you to know what’s happening inside those “health care” facilities where abortions take place.
According to LifeNews which has been following, reporting on and opposing the bill:
The legislation makes it a crime for anyone to record undercover footage of ‘health care providers,’ including abortion facilities. An original version of the bill also would have punished third parties, including journalists and lawyers, who do nothing more than report or distribute the footage, the Courthouse News Service reports. Violations include stiff fines and jail time.
Concerned about the violation of First Amendment rights and Freedom of the Press, The American Civil Liberties Union of California opposed the bill. The LA Times editorial board, not a bastion of pro-life support, wrote in opposition to the bill in August:
But make no mistake, this measure would heap more criminal and civil penalties on making a secret recording — an act that’s already prohibited by state law, even when done in the public interest — simply to satisfy an interest group popular among Sacramento Democrats. In fact, it would further disincentivize potential whistleblowers from recording malfeasance when they witness it — for example, a patient who sees her doctor handing out opioid prescriptions like candy, or a farm worker who catches a veterinarian approving a sick cow for the slaughterhouse. The potential for unanticipated and unwelcome consequences is huge.
Where does the path of ideological censorship lead?
To speculate what dangers might lie further down this slippery slope is considered fear-mongering. So, let’s look instead to France where unlimited access to tax-payer funded abortion has been the law of the land since 1993. Samantha Gobba, writing for World Magazine, reveals “France plans ban on pro-life websites” because the “government claims a minority of fanatics” is “deliberately deceiving women” by providing factual information about abortion and support for pre and post abortive women.
According to Gobba’s article, Laurence Rossignol, minister of families, children and women’s rights, upholds the right of people to their private opinions about abortion, on-line advocacy of what is now likened to pro-terrorist and pro-anorexia sites is banned. “Being hostile to abortion is an opinion protected by the civil liberties in France,” Rossignol told Rue89. “But creating websites that … give biased information designed to deter, guilt, traumatize is not acceptable.”
New “rights” are dis-establishing the First Amendment
In this country, we are right now debating what should happen when rights of sexual expression clash with First Amendment rights. And the First Amendment is losing. When religious liberty advocates raised this alarm about reducing the freedom of religious expression to “freedom of worship,” many journalists and civil rights organizations said it was much ado about nothing. But when the freedom of the press is also on the table, and we have their attention.
When the right to an abortion is sacrosanct, journalists and whistleblowers are finding their First Amendment rights of speech and press have been likewise dis-established. Indeed, the last generation’s disestablishmentarians, for whom investigative journalism and civil liberties are religion, are now being disestablished by those with new-found government enforced rights of their own.