Reproductive Justice Clinic contributes to passage of new law criminalizing distribution of secret recordings

Oct. 5, 2016

Image of Reproductive Justice Clinic students, fellows, directors
Reproductive Justice Clinic students, directors and fellows: Back row, from left: Prof. Michele Goodwin, Alison Chabot ’17, Hon. Lynne Riddle (Ret.), Hayley Penan ’17. Front row, from left: Senior Research Fellow Jaime Allgood, Andrea Diaz ’16.

Research conducted by Alison Chabot ’17 and the Reproductive Justice Clinic at UC Irvine School of Law contributed to the passage of a new California law criminalizing distribution of secret recordings. AB 1671 was inspired by the high-profile case involving videos of Planned Parenthood employees discussing abortion procedures.

The Reproductive Justice Clinic at UC Irvine School of Law is one of only two law school clinics in the United States devoted to working on legal issues involving reproductive rights and the criminal and civil justice systems.  Under the guidance of Clinic Director and Chancellor’s Professor Michele Goodwin and Judge Lynne Riddle (ret.), the clinic provides rigorous training in statutory analysis and common law advocacy.  Students in the clinic work with clients across the nation and last year, that included Planned Parenthood Federation of California, among others. The clinic undertook the issue of undercover video surveillance and assigned this project to Alison Chabot, then a 2L at UCI Law.

Alison conducted the first-ever 50-state legislative survey and analysis of laws and cases related to undercover video surveillance, including for cases of revenge pornography and to target politically unpopular organizations. The impact of the work proved significant as it identified that other states had already moved in the direction of outlawing undercover surveillance, particularly as undercover surveillance could be used to chill organizations from meeting and privately expressing their views. Alison analyzed those laws and cases, producing memoranda, charts, and suggesting pathways forward. In the end, the clinic’s client was able to utilize this research in their work with the California legislature and the resulting legislation AB 1671, which was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.