The ProLife Team Podcast | Episode 15 with Susan Arnall | New CA Laws Surrounding Abortion

The ProLife Team Podcast
The ProLife Team Podcast | Episode 15 with Susan Arnall | New CA Laws Surrounding Abortion
Loading
/

Protecting Privacy and Safety: The Texas Heartbeat Bill and California’s Buffer Zone

Listen to Susan Arnall and Jacob Barr talk about the changing legal environment in California that are impacting freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of press on public easements near abortion clinics.  These laws are impacting 40 Days for Life and sidewalk ministries – by changing what is legal from a public space.  For those who in California and not in California, we identified steps to consider based on these laws being passed earlier this month.

 

Summary

This is Jacob Barr, and in a recent episode of the Pro-Life Team Podcast, I had an enlightening conversation with Susan Arnall, the Director of Outreach and Engagement for the Right to Life League, about pressing legal issues in California that could potentially influence the rest of the country.

Susan highlighted the recently enacted Texas heartbeat bill and compared its approach of empowering private citizens to enforce the law to a similar, yet contrasting development in California. We discussed AB 1356, a new law in California, that restricts the public posting or display of images or personal information of individuals associated with reproductive healthcare services. This law, largely seen as a response to the Texas legislation, creates a private cause of action and aims to protect the privacy of individuals at these facilities.

However, as we delved deeper, concerns arose about the potential chilling effect on free speech and peaceful protest. The law’s broad definition of prohibited actions and empowered plaintiffs could intimidate individuals engaged in lawful, peaceful demonstrations or prayer gatherings near abortion facilities. Susan and I explored the intricacies of the law, particularly focusing on how it might be used to silence pro-life advocates and restrict their First Amendment rights.

Additionally, we discussed SB 742, another new California law that prohibits protests within 100 feet of any vaccination site, which now includes many Planned Parenthood facilities. This law could significantly impact peaceful, prayerful sidewalk ministries and restrict their ability to offer support and information to women considering abortion.

The conversation underscored the reality of the legal battles and the ongoing struggle to uphold the rights of pro-life advocates in the face of increasingly restrictive laws. It was clear that these legal changes in California could have wider implications, possibly inspiring similar laws in other states, further impacting the pro-life movement nationwide.

#Hashtags: #ProLifeLegalBattles, #CaliforniaLegislation, #FirstAmendmentRights, #ProtectingFreeSpeech, #ProLifeAdvocacy, #AB1356, #SB742, #TexasHeartbeatBill, #SpiritualWarfare, #PrayerfulProtestRights, #ReproductiveHealthcareLaws, #ProLifePodcastDiscussion, #RightToLifeLeague.

Transcript

The transcript was automatically generated and may contain errors.

Jacob Barr :

Welcome to the pro-life Team Podcast i’m here with Susan and we’re going to talk about some legal issues that are currently taking place in California and they are likely to affect the rest of the country. Susan, would you please introduce yourself as if you were talking to a group of executive directors in California and beyond?

Susan Arnall :

Thanks, Jacob, for having me on my name is Susan Arnall. I’m the Director of Outreach and Engagement for the Right to Life League. We’re based out of Southern California in the Pasadena area, and we represent clinics and centers and maternity homes across California.

Jacob Barr :

What is a new topic in the legal arena? And I know there’s several, but what’s the new topic that’s on the forefront of your mind at this time for the pregnancy clinic movement?

Susan Arnall :

One of the things that we’re seeing at least in California more and more you might have probably everybody’s probably aware of this Texas heartbeat bill that just went into effect in this.

Jacob Barr :

Court.

Susan Arnall :

Didn’t didn’t enjoin it. They’re allow allowing it to kind of proceed through the normal forces the one of the interesting things about the Heartbeat bill is that it creates a private cause of action. And by that I mean the people of Texas have done a smart thing they have empowered the people of Texas, right. It’s it is not an action that is brought by the state against a an abortion facility who has either refused to give a woman an ultrasound at between six and eight weeks or whenever it is, it’s actually enforced by the people of Texas so that individuals have this special power. That I think was one of the things that the Supreme Court mentioned when they said well we’re going to allow this to go through for now we’re not going to temporarily enjoin it we’re not going to execute some sort of emergency, a temporary restraining order we’re going to allow it to go through because it’s a different type of action it’s not government action necessarily it has empowered private a private cause of action. They’re doing the same thing in California but of course with California it’s the dark side it’s how do we empower a private cause of action to shut down, you know, pro-life speech for an instance and that’s what’s going on in Mahoriami. So in California, Governor Newsom has recently signed AB 1356 AB 1356 which, excuse me, it’s now law. It forbids the posting on social media of video images you know photos or identifying information. The original notion of this was to avoid doxing because doxing is, you know you put private information out there and say everybody, you know, everybody go to the governor’s house and get him, you know sick him kind of thing and but private individuals and that’s that that’s troubling for we all agree on that we don’t want to start, you know telling people rabble rousers go over and frighten somebody at their own home makes sense. Ok. But this bill 1356 was sponsored by Planned Parenthood and name roll and so it’s really not about so much privacy that is that’s always the weapon they use, right privacy. What they designed in 1356 is a private cause of action. It’s a state cause of action as well, but it’s also private. It empowers actually a special plaintiff group. So it says that abortion providers, their employees and their and their clients have a cause of action if an individual is filming or photographing or otherwise, you know, doing activities right within 100 feet of the abortion facility and is filming and captures an image and then posts it on social media. So the actual filming itself is not technically the problem. The problem is what do you do with the pictures so if you’re sitting.

Jacob Barr :

There from like a public easement or public.

Susan Arnall :

Yeah, from a public sidewalk so you’re standing out front of the Planned Parenthood, you’ve organized a pro-life rally, right? And you’ve got all your church members out there and we love babies we love life, right we’re all there. And somebody’s taking pictures or video or imagine this maybe they’re live streaming the event. Ok, now if you’re live streaming the event, that goes automatically onto social media platforms and that creates an issue because this law says, well, if you identify someone like a patient because they have a right to privacy an employee and they have an objective fear for their safety, that’s easily alleged, by the way. Just staying, OK. Because this is all from the legal standpoint, all you have to do you can allege things and get into court and that triggers a whole series of, you know, legal threats i guess, you know, imagine if I wanted to bring you into court and hauled you into court, i simply have to allege these things i was in fear for my life. Well, how do you prove that how do you prove an objective concern that somebody might be wanting to hurt you well, one of the things that I’m, I would imagine if I were a Planned Parenthood, I would start any time there was any kind of prayer event in front of my facility, like a 40 Days for Life, for instance, which is going on right now. I would call every day. I would call the police and say there are people out front of our organization and we’re concerned they might be blocking our you know, egress ingress. I don’t know what they’re going to be doing. What that does is it starts creating a record, right, so that you have 30 or 40 days of every day We had to fill out a report because we were concerned our clients are concerned, our employees are concerned right then. So now you’ve established a record, that of concern, right? Then something happens some, I don’t even know, you can’t even predict somebody does something somebody falls down, who knows, some something goes on. There’s pictures taken and posted to the web, right? Perhaps as what happened when we did our 40 days for life, we facilitated one in the fall in the I’m sorry, in the spring of this year, there was a disturbed individual who threatened our prayer warriors with a knife, threw eggs at some of our, you know, prayer warriors, and stole all of our signs these are different individuals that did this. Ok, well, if somebody’s videotaping that or live streaming it, right, Live streaming, it goes right on to the social. You know, it’s Facebook, it’s Twitter, it’s all out there, right? Well, now we have AB 1356 which says, well, you’re taking an image, which is my likeness. It’s recognizable, right? It doesn’t have to be my personal information you know, here’s where where I live it can be just my image, right? And that’s being posted and that’s the problem that now you have, you have violated 1356 by posting this image and this special class of plaintiff, which are the, you know, the people who work at the abortion facility, their clients, things like that. They now have a cause of action against you for posting the image. Maybe it was a newsworthy event. Well, yeah, but you’re not a news reporter, So what that’s going to do is chill speech the interesting thing, though, is this empowers a private cause of action. It’s not just the state because the individual themselves, the abortion plaintiff, the, I mean the patient, the employees, they might have a cause of action against just prayer warriors who are out there so it makes it intimidates prayer warriors or people who are peacefully protesting in front of, you know, abortion and they’re on public sidewalks.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, that’s it feels like an attack on the publicness of a public sidewalk where.

Susan Arnall :

Yeah, it’s clearly an attack on the 1st Amendment. Look, the 1st Amendment protects freedom of speech and speech is not just words speech is also action. And it’s also on the public, the you’re standing on a public sidewalk, you’re not on private property. So there is a clear or First Amendment issue and I’m sure they’re going to be groups that are going to be challenged. But the interesting thing is that just like Texas is empowering citizens, so too is California. Private causes of action to see what Planned Parenthood wants to do is shut down speech. They don’t want you to talk about this anymore we don’t talk about what abortion is.

Jacob Barr :

So this is the way to shut down. So whenever someone records footage, a picture or video from the sidewalk for, well, for you know, and then they end up posting they if they post it to the Internet or if they post it to social media pages, yes. Is it is it both or is it just social media?

Susan Arnall :

It’s the no it it’s posting it it’s publicizing.

Jacob Barr :

It publish OK, so making it available for someone to find on the public Internet a picture from a public sidewalk.

Susan Arnall :

Yeah so we’re gonna have to maybe blur out people’s in. I mean the thing is how do you, how can you be clever about this, you know, and so that you don’t run afoul of a law like that well, maybe you have to do the little blue, the blue circles on people’s faces, right or blur the image or maybe you have to blur the image of the, you know, the facility or the address or things like that. Those are the type of things that the court would have to you know look at say OK, well how much. But it’s we are we’re now in the realm of what is considered free speech and what how many restrictions can you place on the 1st Amendment Is that a reasonable is that a reasonable time, place and manner restriction on speech. There is a good one good thing is there is a narrow exception with 1356 for news organizations so let’s say taken. If I’ve taken pictures and I go take it to the LA Times and I deliver that to them, well then they can post it. And that was one of the things that we at the League thought about we complained about the violation of free speech that this is concerning for example i mean one of the things that we said in testimony is you couldn’t you could not put a George Floyd video up on social media if it happened right outside of your the Planned Parenthood it forbids this type of George Floyd type video.

Jacob Barr :

And I think that’s sort of why we need the ability to post a video is for is essentially to expose truth for what it is so people can see raw footage of something that’s happening in case, you know, So yeah, so there’s a lot of thoughts.

Susan Arnall :

And I just want to clarify it. I mean, you can videotape and photograph all day long you.

Jacob Barr :

Can’t publish or post.

Susan Arnall :

Publish it except the issue is in the publishing and because it again what was the what is at least the stated purpose is to prevent the this invasion of privacy and threatening people by doxing. Right because we’ve become a social media world right. So your image is out there and people get to say I know that person right. That that’s what we don’t want to and i’m being a little bit general i mean you have to allege in there that you that you have an objective reasonable fear right you there’s certain you can’t it’s not just everything but what is interesting is that it is now it’s a private cause of action and it empowers a certain segment of the population to act on it.

Jacob Barr :

And this only, this is, this is limited to only in front of a an abortion clinic. How do they define the area?

Susan Arnall :

In which I wanted to look it up. I’m going to double check this is.

Jacob Barr :

One of the thoughts I’m thinking of before we read the bill or look at the bill, one thing is that whenever someone posts to the Internet, essentially we’re all writers we’re bloggers we’re people who are sharing our story. And if we’re not allowed to post a, you know, from a public space, what’s what we’re seeing, it’s no longer public. Like it feels like they’re trying to change it from being public to private. And that goes against the fact that they don’t own it if they owned that property and it was private property, I think they would have a case. But the fact that it’s public and they’re trying to own it without actually, you know, maintaining and actually having the purchase rights.

Susan Arnall :

Of it that’s exactly you’re at you’re on the point which is OK at what point does the does the public space the 1st Amendment when does that yield to private rights and that’s always a balancing act, right. I’m not allowed to trespass on private property and nor can anyone trespass on my property, right. But the there there’s a long body of law what that has held that you know photographs taken on public property you know if you’re photographing somebody walking through the mall at DC right that’s excuse me I apologize. Taking a picture in a public area people who are out in public they know they’re out in public right. So you can take pictures of them and that you can use. So we’re seeing the interesting thing is that you know they were all and Planned Parenthood they want to silence public discord. You see they don’t want us talking about abortion they don’t want to they don’t want their clients to see that it is really a baby they want they want to scare people into thinking oh it’s just a clump of cells and just we’re going to take care of it. They don’t want the truth out there. So they are now encroaching upon the they’re trying to redefine what is the public space. And that’s why we have concerns with this law let me read it to you right now this is from the, this is the California legislature this is the current status of the bill this is the bill that was signed by Governor Newsom just a few days ago. And it starts with Section 2 it says a person, business or association shall not knowingly publicly post or publicly display, disclose or distribute on Internet, websites or social media the personal information or image of any reproductive healthcare services, patient provider or assistant, or other individuals residing at the same home address with the intent to do either of the following 1st is to intend to incite a third person to cause imminent great bodily harm to the reproductive healthcare service, patient provider or assistant. So that that’s, you know, hi, I’m just posting it over here. Boy, wouldn’t it be a shame if you all showed up? You’re kind of trying to get a third party to do something right, to incite a third person to hurt them we don’t want that, right?

Jacob Barr :

Well, and I could agree with that, I wouldn’t want someone to post a picture and saying, hey, this guy should be beat up, that would be terrible like that’s i don’t. I don’t.

Susan Arnall :

We agree. We agree with it.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, we don’t want to invite people to.

Susan Arnall :

Get hurt we don’t want to incite harm, but these are all the only things you have to allege. The other thing you have to is intent to you’d have to allege, OK, the intent to threaten the reproductive healthcare services patient provider or assistant identified in the posting or the display or Co resident of that person. So that makes sense, right we don’t want to incite a third person to hurt them and we don’t want to threaten. So that’s the that’s the language that kind of limits this. All right. So the work around as I as I said up before, if you as a let’s say a reproductive healthcare services patient provider or assistant, if you can, all you have to do to bring this action is to be able to allege that you were you felt you felt threatened right in an objective way it goes on a little bit so.

Jacob Barr :

It’s based on the person alleging more so than the person who did the action to say that I.

Susan Arnall :

There’s down in the language and I believe i’m scanning for it right now. It is. It has to be reasonable. I’m looking for the language hang on one second. Oh also by the way, in the in the definitions section, image includes but isn’t limited to a photograph, video footage, a sketch or a computer generated image that provides a means to visually identify the person. Social media means an electronic service or account. Electronic content, including but not limited to videos, are still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages. So there you go, Telegram, even your own WhatsApp, right email, online services or accounts or Internet website profiles or locations.

Jacob Barr :

How can social media include email and text messages that seems to be very invasive for someone to be able to. When you do that research of did you break this rule by sending it via email which is not public?

Susan Arnall :

Well, you do it you send it out to, let’s say you’ve got a group of friends, friends who love life, and you send it to the email right. Bank and then they forward it on right. Email So yeah, they’ve just defined email to be social media.

Jacob Barr :

But, and sometimes we take a picture, it automatically will save it to your online cloud account and so that seems to be included as well by saying online services or accounts.

Susan Arnall :

It it’s it raises the issue, doesn’t.

Jacob Barr :

It even not making it public but simply storing it as part of like a normal way of taking pictures.

Susan Arnall :

Right it what I’m what I’m saying is this is going to chill speech and the issue is this overly broad is this too much. I’m looking for the Let’s see the It’s a long thing and I’m scanning kind of quickly, so sorry for the but the But there’s also a whole following definition applies for the purposes of this title, anti reproductive rights crime means a crime committed partly or wholly because the victim is a reproductive health services patient, provider or assistant, or a crime that is partially or wholly intended to intimidate the victim, any other person or entity or a class of persons or entities from becoming or remaining a reproductive health services patient provider or assistant. So this isn’t it defines an anti reproductive rights crime. You see, it’s it anyway.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, this.

Susan Arnall :

Is you see what they’re trying to do they’re trying to silence you.

Jacob Barr :

They’re trying to silence us i think that’s the overall strategy is they’re trying different things to silence their opposition, which is.

Susan Arnall :

And all you’ll have to do is, and i can’t find the exact language, but basically the limit on it is what we’ve kind of read, which is you have to be able to allege that there was a threat that you know, the person posting it was threatening or was sending it to a third party to, you know, for purposes of threatening violence, which none of us wants that.

Jacob Barr :

Right and when did this become law? Is this?

Susan Arnall :

Oh, just a few days ago just.

Jacob Barr :

A few days ago, yeah. Nine twenty three yeah.

Susan Arnall :

It was in, yeah, it was in, yeah, last week i think it was Thursday or Friday, so of last week. So and The thing is it you can bring an action for injunctive relief meaning you know ATRO you can go into court and say make them go away make them stop or you can bring in action for monetary damages. And in note that and the minimum is it the damages shall be awarded that up to an individual up to a maximum of three times the actual damages but in no case less than 4000$ and let me find the other section. If you if you are found to a violation of the section of this subsection, 3 is a misdemeanor publish publishable, I’m sorry, punishable by a fine of up to ten thousand dollars for violation, imprisonment up to one year in a county jail, or by both. That’s fine and imprisonment, OK and a violation of the subsection that leads to the bodily injury of a reproductive health care services patient, provider or assistant or other individuals at that, you know, same home is being near and it’s punishable by a fine of up to fifty thousand dollars imprisonment in county jail or for not exceeding one year. So that’s the bodily injury part of you can be you can you might face a fine of up to fifty thousand dollars for this OK so.

Jacob Barr :

It looks like later on in the law it also says a second or a subsequent violation of subdivision Abe or F boils down to 50.000 thousand up to up to not to exceed 50.000 thousand and also can include imprisonment.

Susan Arnall :

Yes.

Jacob Barr :

So this is going to be a yeah, there’s a lot of high dollar yeah pizzas it’s got.

Susan Arnall :

It’s got a lot of teeth in it and The thing is it empowers a private cause of action. You see, it’s not just criminal by the you don’t just have to have the DA. Although I think Gascon’s the DA in LA and that he’s very.

Jacob Barr :

You know, and an interesting thing is that the actual video footage being taken from the sidewalk is often the evidence that no harm was done, that we were kind to this person who is alleging or lying about the situation. And that video footage has the value of the same reason why a police officer may wear the body Cam in order to prove what really happened. When it’s my word against someone else’s word, that’s why that footage is so important. It’s very important.

Susan Arnall :

Yes and but the thing is what they just want you to do is they don’t want you to publish it anywhere.

Jacob Barr :

Because it looks very negative against the people that are opposing the sidewalk councillors are often full of Jesus filled love while the people opposing them are often irate and insane sounding and it looks very bad against their movement. That’s why they’re doing this.

Susan Arnall :

Right that’s what they don’t want the images to get out. That’s it. And they’re predicating all of this on the danger to this abortion minded woman who I think who was it which was public figure that said these women have to run the gauntlet meaning they have to walk by people who are praying silently for their baby and that’s running the gauntlet. So we don’t want you to we don’t want to see prayer and we don’t want to see you outside of the abortion factory so what do we need to do so in California they’re creating this. It’s like a not even there’s another bill that’s made it a buffer zone that’s even kind of more crazy. It’s called SB seven forty two that’s all.

Jacob Barr :

I read about that one and that one came out. I think it was like two or three weeks ago or four weeks ago talking about how they going.

Susan Arnall :

Through it’s been all it’s been going through the legislative process but it’s also been signed now within a few days ago from by Governor Newsom and that simply that’s another attack on life speech because what they but they but it’s not on the face because what they’ve said is you cannot be within 100 feet of the entrance or exit of any vaccination site it originally started with we don’t want anti vaxxers to be passing out literature to say, hey, why don’t you ask what’s in this? You know, COVID vaccine or hey, maybe you should wait, right?

Jacob Barr :

I think it.

Susan Arnall :

Was interfere but.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, they changed it to not now it doesn’t. They can essentially, since Planned Parenthood is providing the vaccine, they can tell someone not to be within 100 feet and for any reason, but not even based on the vaccine it’s based off of them praying.

Susan Arnall :

Exactly. That was my point is that it started out as an anti vaccine which was a very narrow message on hundred. Feet we couldn’t protest vaccinations. They stripped that out within a few like 48 hours before they did the passage. Strip out any speech at all pretty much you cannot protest in anything and in fact you want to see what harassing would look like. I’ll show you under this bill, let’s say I’ve got a sign here that says, you know babies are alive, right something like that. The definition of harassment in seven forty two is to direct a sign towards someone. I’m quiet. I’m just. I’m 80.

Jacob Barr :

People doing the rosary on the side.

Susan Arnall :

Yeah, I know. Well, that’s harassment. There you go so they and it is all vaccination sites and it’s like that. That’s all Planned Parenthood. I believe essentially all Planned Parenthood’s are now vaccination sites. And it’s not got to do with the COVID vaccine either it’s you can have measles, mumps, rubella, shingles, any vaccination sites so that’s Walgreens. That’s the clinic that you know, the university anywhere you can’t be within 100 feet of that and it’s it just really shuts down speech because it because they stripped it out they’re targeting pro-life speech, I think.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, i would agree i think it’s a direct attack on essentially sidewalk peaceful prayerful sidewalk ministries who are looking to help women have all their options and not you know and feeling like there’s someone who cares. Well Susan I really appreciate your time. I think this was this was yeah i think this was a good dialogue to essentially raise some awareness of legal concerns of just some of the attacks that are happening in you know from legislature and how you know how these you know some new laws in California are going to severely well be challenged and impact local Californians and then across the country we need to be aware of the direction of you know the enemy is looking probably the duplicate and replicate these laws in other places to further silence their opposition and silence these good kind hearted Jesus loving people from being able to express love and care and prayer in different places.

Susan Arnall :

No, We are on a battlefield. We are on a battlefield. Playing this is playing out in one plane but there’s a there’s just spiritual warfare going on above.

Our sponsor for this episode include Heritage HousePatriot Insurance and iRapture.com.