Pro-Life Sidewalk Advocacy Soon to be a Crime in California

Yesterday, September 8, 2021, SB 742 passed both houses of the California state legislature. It is heading to Governor Newsom’s desk.

SB 742 makes it a crime punishable by fine or imprisonment “to knowingly approach within 30 feet of any person while a person is within 100 feet of the entrance or exit of a vaccination site and is seeking to enter or exit a vaccination site, or any occupied motor vehicle seeking entry or exit to a vaccination site, for the purpose of obstructing, injuring, harassing, intimidating, or interfering with that person or vehicle occupant.”

SB 742 defines “harassing” as “knowingly approaching, without consent, within 30 feet of another person or occupied vehicle for the purpose of passing a leaflet or handbill to, displaying a sign to, or engaging in oral protest, education, or counseling with, that other person in a public way or on a sidewalk area.”

Later amendments to the bill stripped out language that would have restricted the scope of the law to protests made “in connection with any vaccine service.” Now ANY protest within 100 feet of an entrance or exit of any vaccination site is a crime under SB 742. All Planned Parenthood locations offer vaccinations.

Last-minute changes also added an urgency clause which means the bill, once signed into law, will take effect immediately. SB 742’s premise for such urgency is the ongoing COVID pandemic.

The national 40 Days for Life campaign begins September 22. By then, in California, all peaceful pro-life sidewalk advocacy within a football field from any Planned Parenthood facility will be a crime.