- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 9, 2019

“Unplanned,” a new feature film which takes a serious stand against abortion, gets a showcase on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon, the subject of a hearing before the Senate Judicial Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution chaired by Sen. Ted Cruz.

The Texas Republican intends to determine if tech companies are censoring conservative speech; the hearing is titled “Stifling Free Speech: Technology Censorship and the Public Discourse,” and will include testimony from the film’s writer and director Chuck Konzelman.

“They will be investigating whether social media is suppressing conservative thought and free speech,” he told The Hollywood Reporter, an industry publication.

The movie is based on the true story of Abby Johnson, a Planned Parenthood clinic worker who resigned after witnessing an abortion on ultrasound in graphic detail. She went on to become a dedicated pro-life advocate.

The project was produced on a $6 million budget and had surprising box office support, earning $12.5 million since its March 29 release despite sparse media coverage. Twitter also suspended the film’s account, later reinstating it following a public outcry.

“The ridicule of the mainstream media and Hollywood is to be expected. But big tech’s attempted censorship of the story during its opening weekend is deeply troubling and revealing. I have repeatedly asked tech companies for basic data on how many voices on their social platforms are silenced and to what extent it is politically targeted. I intend to keep asking these questions, and hold them accountable,” Mr. Cruz told The Hollywood Reporter.

M.r Konzelman also questioned the timing of the Twitter suspension.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s part of a systematic bias against conservative media. We were on Twitter for nine months and an error occurred on opening weekend? That’s not much fun,” he told the publication.

Representatives of Twitter and Facebook plus sociology and legal experts are expected to testify, along with and Marilyn Musgrave, vice president of government affairs for the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life advocacy group.

The hearing will be live streamed at 2:30 p.m. E.T.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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