Oklahoma Law: To Scare Women by Posting Abortion Info Online

October 9, 2009

(ChattahBox)—The State of Oklahoma is known for its extreme anti-choice legislation, making it as difficult as possible for women to obtain a safe and legal abortion. Now, a new law slated to take effect on Nov. 1, would publicly post online, personal details about women receiving abortions in the Sooner state. Pro-choice advocates say, the law is a thinly disguised attempt to frighten women from having abortions and are fighting the new law in court.

The new law, called “The Statistical Reporting of Abortion Act,” mandates that doctors complete a lengthy “Individual Abortion Form” containing 35 questions asking for highly-detailed and personal information on each and every women having an abortion in the state. The information demanded includes, the age, marital status, education level, and total number of previous pregnancies for each woman.

Lengthy questions are also included asking the reason the woman is having an abortion, including such choices, as “having a baby would interfere with the job/employment/career of the mother” and “mother would have to find new place to live.” The doctor is required to check all the reasons that apply.

The doctor is required to answer detailed questions about the medical procedure itself, such as “Was there an infant born alive as a result of the abortion?” And any doctor failing to submit the completed questionnaire would be subject to criminal sanctions and loss of their medical license.

Although the new law states that the form should not reveal the woman’s name, address or any other identifying information, the first eight questions alone would be sufficient to personally identify the women in small rural Kentucky communities.

Keri Parks, director of external affairs at Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma said, “They’re really just trying to frighten women out of having abortions.”

Look at the First Eight Questions:

1. Date of abortion
2. County in which abortion performed
3. Age of mother
4. Marital status of mother
(married, divorced, separated, widowed, or never married)
5. Race of mother
6. Years of education of mother
(Specify highest year completed)
7. State or foreign country of residence of mother
8. Total number of previous pregnancies of the mother
Live Births
Induced Abortions

The completed questionnaires would be published on the State of Kentucky’s website to be used, as “academic research” to help state health officials in preventing future abortions.

The Center For Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit claiming that the law violates the Oklahoma Constitution, because it “covers more than one subject.”

Pro-choice advocates were successful in striking down another pernicious anti-abortion law in Kentucky using the same legal theory, which required women seeking an abortion to see an ultrasound of the fetus and listen to a detailed description of the fetus’ heart, limbs and internal organs. No exceptions were made for rape and incest victims.

Kentucky’s new law also bans sex-selective abortion, making it the first state in the country to do so. Pro-choice advocates point to this ban, as just another attempt to make it more difficult for women to receive abortions.

Jennifer Mondino, staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights said, “The sex-selective bans in effect limit access to abortion because it may chill doctors from providing the service.” Doctors may deny a woman an abortion under the ban, because it’s difficult to determine the true reason for a woman’s abortion.

The maintenance of the abortion data website, would cost the State of Kentucky over $200,000 a year.


3 Responses to “Oklahoma Law: To Scare Women by Posting Abortion Info Online”

  1. All In One Information » Oklahoma Law: To Scare Women by Posting Abortion Info Online … on October 9th, 2009 1:42 pm

    […] the original: Oklahoma Law: To Scare Women by Posting Abortion Info Online … This entry is filed under Information. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS […]

  2. Robert on October 9th, 2009 7:58 pm

    If the data is personal data, it should not go online.

    If the data is aggregate data about total number of state abortions, etc then that is very appropriate for the state to track and post online.

  3. Deb on October 12th, 2009 7:31 pm

    Who in the state of Oklahoma stood behind this bill? I want to know. This is a travesty. Medical information is to be private and in a small community it would be easy for someone to find out who the information was about. I have a daughter and thank GOD we are leaving Oklahoma next summer. I grew up in a different state and although Ok was a good place to raise her because it was cheap, the mentality toward women is from the Dark Ages. This is disgraceful.

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