Bill would put Planned Parenthood phone no. on every student ID in state
From Greg Burt
A new member of the California State Assembly is trying real hard to reward Planned Parenthood for an endorsement and a $4400 campaign contribution he received last year. Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel recently introduced AB 624 , a bill that could put Planned Parenthood’s phone number in the pocket of every California student age 12 - 24.
How you ask? By requiring every student identification card in the state to include the number of “a sexual or reproductive health hotline.”
Planned Parenthood promotes itself as an educational resource boasting on its website how it “delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of people worldwide.” If you want to know the type of advice Planned Parenthood would provide students, just look at the organization’s online “Chat” website where organization employees answer question such as “how does the abortion pill work?”, what to do if you “forgot to use a condom?”, and how do I “book an appointment.”
This new law would not just apply to the ID cards issued by public middle school, high school, and colleges, but for all private (including Christian) educational institutions as well. This isn’t going to sit well with parents and private school educators who vehemently oppose abortion and the sexual behavior promoted by Planned Parenthood. On top of this, legal experts say the legislation is clearly unconstitutional.
“This is government compelled speech, which targets and burdens religious free exercise, similar to the legislation US Supreme Court smacked down in NIFLA v. Becerra,” explained Attorney Dean Broyles with the National Center for Law and Policy. “The radicals in the California legislature just don’t get it! We still have a First Amendment.”
Broyles is referring to a US Supreme Court decision from last summer, NIFLA v. Becerra, that declared the California Reproductive FACT Act unconstitutional for trying to compel pro-life pregnancy care centers to give their clients information on free abortions. In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy explains his thinking.
“It is not forward thinking to force individuals to ‘be an instrument for fostering public adherence to an ideological point of view they find unacceptable.’ It is forward thinking to begin by reading the First Amendment as ratified in 1791; to understand the history of authoritarian government as the Founders then knew it; to confirm that history since then shows how relentless authoritarian regimes are in their attempts to stifle free speech; and to carry those lessons onward as we seek to preserve and teach the necessity of freedom of speech for the generations to come. Governments must not be allowed to force persons to express a message contrary to their deepest convictions. Freedom of speech secures freedom of thought and belief. This law imperils those liberties.”- US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy
California legislators starting mandating hotline numbers on the back of student ID cards last year with the passage of SB 972, a law that mandated listing the National Suicide Hotline number on the back of every public and private school ID card grades 7-12. Asm. Gabriel obviously sees last year’s law as an opening to provide free advertising for organizations promoting messages he approves.
Not only does Gabriel’s bill require a phone number to “a sexual or reproductive health hotline,” but to these hotlines as well:
The National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-656-4673;
The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-7233;
(Optional) A local sexual assault hotline;
(Optional) A local domestic violence hotline.
Gabriel obviously doesn’t see the conflict of interest in using government resources to provide free advertising to an organization that has given him an endorsement and campaign cash. His campaign website contains the following endorsement from Sarah Mitchell, Public Affairs and Communications Manager at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles:
“Planned Parenthood is proud to endorse Jesse Gabriel for State Assembly. Jesse has a long record of standing up for those most in need, and we know that he will be a strong partner in protecting women’s health and ensuring access to vital services - including life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, and STD testing and treatment.”
Planned Parenthood Los Angeles followed up its endorsement with a $4400 donation to Gabriel’s campaign last June. Maybe Gabriel hopes this free advertising will result in the type of big donations Planned Parenthood gives other California legislators. For example over the past two years Planned Parenthood affiliates have given Senator Connie Leyva $11,500, Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins $18,800, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon $25,700.
“The audacity of some legislators to use state power to indoctrinate California’s students seems to have no limits,” said California Family Council President Jonathan Keller. “Legislators failed at forcing pro-life pregnancy clinics in California to advertise Planned Parenthood’s pro-abortion message, so now they are trying to compel every school in the state to promote Planned Parenthood’s culture-destroying values. Last year, the US Supreme Court made it clear they would not tolerate California’s authoritarian attempts to coerce speech. Hopefully it will not take another judicial defeat for Sacramento to learn its lesson.”
Greg Burt is Director of Capitol Engagement for the California Family Council (www.californiafamily.org)