Anti-Abortion Creeps Coming For The Internet, Your Phone Conversations And The First Amendment
First, they came for your reproductive rights. Now, an anti-abortion group is lobbying states to pass model legislation that would pretty much make it a crime to give any information about abortion whatsoever, on the off chance that someone from an anti-choice state might hear about it.
The ironically named National Right To Life, recognizing the fact that yes, we are absolutely going to do everything we can to make sure that people are not forced to gestate and give birth against their well, is proposing that states go at this in a manner similar to RICO laws meant to deter organized crime. This means that if someone has an abortion, they want literally everyone involved arrested and charged with a crime (except the pregnant person because their schtick is that they are being taken advantage of by nefarious actors who just want more abortions).
Aiding or abetting an illegal abortion should include, but not be limited to:
(1) giving instructions over the telephone, the internet, or any other medium of communication regarding self-administered abortions or means to obtain an illegal abortion; (
3) hosting or maintaining a website, or providing internet service, that encourages or facilitates efforts to obtain an illegal abortion;
(4) offering or providing illegal “abortion doula” services; and
(5) providing referrals to an illegal abortion provider. The penalties for such conspiracy, and for such aiding or abetting, would be subject to the affirmative defense for a physician to perform a life-saving abortion.
This means that those who wish to bomb abortion clinics are free to easily find bomb-making instructions on the internet or in books, but even discussing how to self-administer an abortion would be illegal. Cute!
The model legislation also makes it a felony to give a minor a ride to another state to procure an abortion without their parents' knowledge. So if you are in high school and take your friend for a ride to get an abortion in another state, you could go to prison and lose your right to vote.
It could also prohibit abortion pill manufacturers from advertising on the internet and hold other platforms accountable for anything people do on their platforms to help people in states where abortion is illegal .
Under the National Right to Life Committee’s proposed legislation, Google’s web-hosting service could be in trouble, said Florida State University law professor Mary Ziegler. Likewise, Facebook could potentially be liable for any user-generated content promoting abortion that’s aimed at people in states where those services are illegal.
While these platforms continue to host abortion-related advertising, the abortion-rights advocacy group Plan C said that getting ads promoting abortion services approved on them is arduous and getting more so.
This is censorship. These people literally want to regulate what Americans are allowed to say on the phone, what they are allowed to post on the internet, where they are allowed to drive and with whom. In olden times we might be able to assume that the Supreme Court would never allow this blatant violation of the First Amendment, as well as section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which bars websites from being prosecuted for what their users say and do, but with this Supreme Court, there's not much to rely on.
And hell, even if it doesn't pass the first time, they'll keep introducing it over and over and over again until they get their way, because that's what they do.
Perhaps this would be a great time for those who cry "1984!" when someone disagrees with them online to take a real big stand for the First Amendment and free speech, which we know they love so very much.
And now ... OPEN THREAD!
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse