Prof. Kirtley Quoted by Reuters on Texas Grand Jury Indictment of Anti-Abortion Activists Claiming First Amendment Privilege

Professor Jane Kirtley was quoted in a Reuters report about a Texas grand jury indictment of two anti-abortion activists for fraud after using fake driver's licenses to obtain secure evidence that Planned Parenthood was illegally selling fetal tissue. The activists have claimed they have a First Amendment right to do so, and claimed that journalists conduct similar undercover operations.

Prof. Kirtley explained that journalists are not exempt from laws of general applicability, citing several instances where reporters were criminally charged for actions during the course of their reporting.  And although she acknowledged that most journalists would not engage in the fraudulent activities of which the activists are accused, she expresed concern that there could be a chilling effect on investigative reporting. "If these people are convicted, there is a risk. Anytime courts are given the opportunity to scrutinize the press . . . I worry about dicta."