A California Democratic lawmaker is denying that his bill requiring all student ID cards to include the phone number to a reproductive health care clinic, such as Planned Parenthood, would only serve to promote abortion providers.
Last month, Assembly member Jesse Gabriel of San Fernando Valley introduced Assembly Bill 624, the “Pupil and Student Health” bill, that would require all middle schools, high schools and colleges — both public, private and Christian schools — to carry student IDs with numbers to the National Sexual Assault Hotline, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and Planned Parenthood or another sexual health and abortion provider.
AB 624 has garnered criticism from many pro-life advocates who say that, among other things, the bill would force students to promote Planned Parenthood.
"By slapping Planned Parenthood’s hotline on the back of every 12- to 24-year-old’s ID, California essentially would be forcing every student to join an abortion sales team," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. ... "Gabriel’s bill doesn’t just force young people to violate their beliefs — it promotes an industry that jeopardizes these girls’ health," he added.
In a statement released Thursday, Gabriel disputed accusations that his bill is an effort to promote and advertise for abortion providers. He said the claims were “offensive, misleading, and flat out wrong.”
Gabriel was endorsed by Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and received a $4,400 donation to his campaign last June.
“I’m proud to be a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive freedom, but AB 624 is not an effort to promote any particular organization or viewpoint,” Gabriel said. “It’s an effort to ensure that students ... are able to access timely and accurate information that may be essential to their physical or mental health.”
Last week AB 624 was referred to the Assembly Committees on Education and Higher Education.
The bill builds off of legislation signed into law last year that added the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to the backs of student ID cards.
AB 624 states that the additional hotlines will be added starting July 1, 2020, for any academic institutions that offer grades 7-12, with no exemptions given for religious schools.
Greg Burt, director of capitol engagement for the California Family Council, said in a Tuesday interview with "The Denice Gary Show" that the bill “opens the opportunity” for schools to promote Planned Parenthood.
“In the bill itself, Planned Parenthood is not mentioned. But it opens the door and the school district is going to think, ‘OK, now what number are we going to put on the back of our IDs?’” Burt posited. “Well, the group out there that’s already in the schools, teaching sex ed, the organization that’s already promoting itself as the state-supported place to go if you want sexual reproductive health is Planned Parenthood.”
"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," Burt added in a statement released March 1.
"On top of this, legal experts say the legislation is clearly unconstitutional," he said.
“This is government compelled speech, which targets and burdens religious free exercise, similar to the legislation U.S. 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.”