NewsFri Jul 7, 2006 - 12:15 pm EST
Identifying Abortion Doctors, Staff, Patients Online May Soon be Prohibited: California
By Gudrun Schultz
Democrat Representative Noreen Evans CALIFORNIA, July 7, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A bill that would make it illegal to post information about abortion practitioners online may soon become law in California, the St. Helena Star reported yesterday.
AB 2251, brought forward by Democrat representative Noreen Evans, would ban any online posting, sale, trade or solicitation of the personal information of abortionists, abortion clinic staff and volunteers, and patients of abortion clinics. Addresses, telephone numbers and pictures would be considered protected information.
“Web sites are used by militant anti-abortion activists to publicize personal information about reproductive healthcare service providers and patients in order to threaten or incite violence against them,” Evans said in a statement. “This bill gives women and their physicians a powerful tool against these Web sites.”
The bill specifies that the display of information would be prohibited if it intentionally incited a third person to cause “imminent great bodily harm” to the person identified, or if it would constitute a threat to the person, or place them in “objectively reasonable fear” for his or her safety.
Although the legislation is directed against abortion opponents who resort to violence, some are concerned that the bill has the potential to severely limit freedom of speech rights. Pro-life groups have at times identified doctors who commit abortions so as to allow pro-life women the option of avoiding them as ob-gyn’s.
The bill has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and will be voted on by the Senate.
Abortion-provider Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and NARAL have supported the bill, as have the California Medical Association, the California Nurses Association and the National Organization for Women of California.