by Steven Ertelt
September 27, 2006
Sacramento, CA (LifeNews.com) — California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law a measure prohibiting any Internet web site posting of the picture, home address, or telephone number of an abortion practitioner. The measure targets those who would threaten abortion practitioners but could be used to prosecute anyone publishing a pro-life web site.
Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, a Democrat, sponsored the bill, which the state Senate approved following a spirited fight against it led by Republican Senator Dennis Hollingsworth. The state House supported on a 53-9 vote in May.
The bill applies to the posting of personal information or pictures of volunteers, employees or other people associated with an abortion business.
"Women should never face vigilante justice for exercising their reproductive rights,” Evans said in a statement after the governor signed the bill. “The same goes for those who work to enable women to exercise these rights.”
Pro-life advocates are concerned that the new law could be used to prosecute anyone operating a pro-life web site in California that has such information posted about abortion practitioners or staff of an abortion facility.
The prohibition of posting the information is limited to those who are likely to "incite a 3rd person to cause imminent great bodily harm to the person identified in the posting or display" or "to threaten the person identified in the posting or display … in a manner that places the person identified or the coresident in objectively reasonable fear for his or her personal safety."
As a result, a pro-life web site with a picture of an abortion practitioner and a note urging prayers for the person or letters written to encourage the person to stop performing abortions could be viewed as threatening or intimidating.
A web site posting a photo of abortion facility staff wheeling out a woman who was victimized by a botched abortion could be viewed by the staff as placing them in fear for their personal safety.
The California Pro-Life Council had urged its members to write Governor Schwarzenegger and urge him to veto the bill.
"Sponsored by Planned Parenthood, this bill is supposedly about making the abortion industry safer, however, the bill’s real aim is to silence pro-life advocates by scaring them away by threatening them with costly lawsuits," the pro-life group said at the time.
The Internet-abortion measure enjoys the support of leading pro-abortion groups such as California NOW and NARAL’s California affiliate.
Other groups have also endorsed the bill, including the California Medical Association, the California Nurses Association, and Kaiser Permanente.
The new law, AB 2251, only pertains to information posted about abortion practitioners or abortion facility staff and does not include any other medical facilities, hospitals, or other health clinics.