Officials from California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office and Planned Parenthood collaborated to draft legislation targeting the pro-life activist whose undercover videos showed officials for the nation’s largest abortion provider discussing the sale of fetal body parts, emails show.
The emails depict conversations between the state agency and Planned Parenthood over AB 1671, which would amend the penal code to make secretly recording and disseminating communications with health care providers a crime. Gov. Jerry Brown has until the end of the month to sign or veto the bill.
AB 1671 is a response to the Center for Medical Progress’ undercover video series spearheaded by David Daleiden.
The documents are another indication of Ms. Harris’ close relationship with Planned Parenthood and call into question the impartiality of her ongoing investigation of Mr. Daleiden, legal experts said.
The emails show Beth Parker, chief legal counsel for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, sending multiple drafts of AB 1671 to Jill Habig, who was at the time special counsel to the attorney general.
“Attached is the language for AB 1671, proposed amendments to Penal Code section 632,” Ms. Parker wrote in an email marked March 8. “I look forward to your thoughts about this.”
Ms. Parker sent a revised draft of the legislation to Ms. Habig on March 16. “Here’s the rewrite of the video tape bill,” she wrote. “Let me know what you think.”
Ronald D. Rotunda, a professor of jurisprudence at Chapman University, said the emails show Ms. Harris is a “tool of Planned Parenthood.” He said it is not uncommon for the attorney general to play a role in the legislative process, but added that Ms. Harris in this case was “working with Planned Parenthood to protect it from criminal prosecution.”
“The state attorney general is supposed to represent the people of California, not a particular industry in California,” Mr. Rotunda said. “What would people say if the attorney general would be working with the local slaughterhouses to help them cover up instances of cruelty to animals?”
A spokesperson for the Office of the Attorney General acknowledged a request for comment from The Washington Times, but subsequent emails asking about the extent of the office’s involvement in drafting AB 1671 went unanswered.
Ms. Habig, who has since become the deputy manager of Ms. Harris’ U.S. Senate campaign, could not be reached for comment.
Ana Sandoval, director of communications for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said the organization played a substantive role in the passage of AB 1671.
“As sponsor of the legislation, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California played an integral part in drafting amendments as the bill moved through the legislative process,” Ms. Sandoval said in a statement.
The emails initially were accessed via a Public Records Act request and later obtained by The Times, and span from March 8 to April 14. Ms. Harris launched a raid on Mr. Daleiden’s apartment on April 5, during which agents seized his laptop, hard drives and phone while he was speaking to his attorneys.
Steve Cooley, a former Los Angeles County district attorney who now represents Mr. Daleiden, called the attorney general’s involvement in crafting AB 1671 “extraordinary.”
“It is common to work on legislation pending before the California state legislature — the attorney general’s office does occasionally weigh in,” Mr. Cooley said. “It is extraordinary to collaborate with a particular entity on what is clearly legislation of specific benefit to them.”
Mr. Cooley said there is a “pattern” of collaboration between Planned Parenthood and the Office of the Attorney General, noting that the abortion provider “played a major role in supplying probable cause” for the search warrant to raid Mr. Daleiden’s apartment.
“This is going after an individual, a single person who was operating as a citizen journalist,” he said. “And all the activity and the timing of it all strongly suggests a real partnership between the attorney general and Planned Parenthood.”
• Bradford Richardson can be reached at email@example.com.
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