Oklahoma Law Will Publicly Post Details of Women’s Abortions Online

On November 1, a law will go into effect in Oklahoma that will post personal details about every abortion performed in the state and post them on the internet.  The information will be accessible via a public website, so anyone will be able to access details like the date of the abortion, the county in which the abortion was performed, the age of the mother, her marital status, and her race.  Although lawmakers claim that no identifying information will be included, this kind of information could easily be used to pinpoint a woman in a small community.

Proponents of the new law say that it will reduce the number of abortions performed in the state, but I’m not sure how that will work – except by shaming women.  “They’re really just trying to frighten women out of having abortions,” Keri Parks, director of external affairs at Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma, told Lynn Harris, who wrote about this Wednesday for Broadsheet.  The law’s defenders claim that the information will be posted online for “academic” research, but the Center for Reproductive Rights points out that it will be nearly impossible to use the information for that purpose. 

The other part of the law is that doctors who refuse to provide this information will face criminal sanctions and loss of their medical license – even though this feels to me like a violation of medical ethics and doctor-patient confidentiality.  It also gives doctors a lot more paperwork to do.

The questionnaire itself does not seem to have pure scientific or sociological research-gathering in mind, as evidenced by questions like “Did the fetus receive anesthetic?” or whether “there was an infant born alive as a result of the abortion.”  Additionally, the website will cost upwards of “$281,285 the first year and $256,285 each subsequent year”, according to the Tulsa World News.  So not only does the website violate privacy, it also will be an enormous money sink in the middle of a recession.

The bill also makes sex-selective abortion illegal, which is another subject entirely.  And although I personally am against sex-selective abortion, I agree with Feminists for Choice, who say that “the real problem lies in the government stepping in and placing restrictions on the ‘right’ reasons for a woman to seek an abortion. It would not be a far step to assume that if the government can restrict the reasons for receiving and/or assisting in the process of an abortion, it could just as easily continue to build on these restrictions until we basically outlaw any and all reasons for seeking an abortion.”

Luckily, the Center for Reproductive Rights is challenging on the law that it “covers more than one subject” (not that it violates basic civil rights, but I guess I’ll take whatever loophole strikes this law down).  This may seem like a bizarre lawsuit, but it worked before, when in 2008 Oklahoma almost became the proud owner of a law that required women to have an ultrasound and have the fetus described to her before she could proceed with an abortion.  Hopefully the lawsuit will be successful – otherwise, best not to move to Oklahoma.

Photo courtesy of flickr.com/photos/73837517@N00/3360085860/

221 comments

Carrie H.
Carrie H4 years ago

Maybe there should be a law to post StD’s mental health of all kinds including counseling and ministry all records having anything to do with sexual health of our politicians. Of course not posting their names. Just their ages sex incomes and marital status.

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Carrie H.
Carrie H4 years ago

Maybe there should be a law to post StD’s mental health of all kinds including counseling and ministry all records having anything to do with sexual health of our politicians. Of course not posting their names. Just their ages sex incomes and marital status.

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Sara N.
Sara N7 years ago

This is TERRIFYING!!!!!!!!

And it seems to me that it is a complete and direct violation of HIPPA. I would not want any of my medical data posted online even if my "name" is redacted from the information. If everything else is included what is to stop the curious individual from doing some research to deduct that it is me. Horrifying, unconstitutional and scary. Not to mention how this information could then be used, enough abortion clinics are attacked without having them be forced to post this information not only making them easier targets to pinpoint they could also identify individuals who participated in them creating even more targets. The whole proposition is AWFUL.

Regardless of your position on abortion. Would you want information about your medical history or for that matter you posted on the internet (for all to see for all time) without your consent and without your ability to control that information? I most certainly would not!

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David Harmon
David Harmon7 years ago

FORGET the abortion issue as a whole for now. That is a true dsagreement to continue for years. The REAL ISSUE IS PRIVACY. VIOLATION of PRIVACY. Being TARGETED BY PSYCOS like those whom kill DOCTORS for performing abortions. We do not allow total info on CHILD MOLESTERS. We do not post information on HIV patients. Murders whom have been released or any other criminal.How about posting info on all illegal aliens? All known GANG-BANGERS? Possible Terrorists? NO. Thats racial profiling. Against THEIR RIGHTS. SEE. Why pick on ladies whom have had abortions? REASON: RELIGIOUS GROUPS are driving this so they can ridiqule, discriminate and harass ladies whom have decided to have this senario. IT is based on their SICK SELF-RITCHIOUS infactuation with some INITY which MIGHT or really DID exsist SOME WHERE, SOMETIME. They feel if this pressure of the SCARLET LETTER is placed on ladies, they will not terminate pregnancies allowing for more children to be born via procreation and GOD is happy, they are happy and the child is NOT nor is the mother/Parents. When was the last time these powerful wealthy churches adopted and PAID for( from cradle to the grave) any orphans they demand to be born? NOT from some other country, but here where they control peoples lives. Here where they make MILLIONS violating not only human rights, but their great leader GOD himself's real rules.

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Glenna Jones-kachtik
Glenna Kachtik7 years ago

Roseanne G. The only thing missing from your "rant" is the fact that not every pregnancy results from unthinking parenting. There are women whose birth control fails - it does happen. If they are on birth control because they have been advised that it is dangerous for them to be pregnant - should they forfit their life, for the life of a child that might or might not be brought to term?
What about the young women who are raped? Through no fault of their own, they find themselves with child. What if that rape is because their father raped them? What about if they are 13 years old?
Your statements are true for adults in sexual situations - I can agree that people need to think before they have sex. I can even agree that a fetus is a baby. I can tell you that if I could still bare children, I would without a doubt never have an abortion.
But that is me. I cannot, nor should you be able to make that decision for anyone else. Since no one I know of has died and met an aborted fetus, I guess we can only specualte about what might or might not happen.
It sounds good on paper, but in practice??? There are too many shades of gray.
Besides, this discussion is not about abortion - but publishing medical information online and in the paper....should that be allowed?

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Thomas S.
7 years ago

"Oh yeah. IT IS MY BODY. PERIOD."

Yes, and it all comes down to just that. A woman's body (or a man's for that matter) belongs to NO ONE but her (or his) self. If I had the ever present concern of whether I might or not gestate within my own abdomen a new life, tied to each and every act of passion in my life, I would damn well pray that the laws in the country within which I resided would protect my right to decide whether or not to carry to term any embryo that might result, whether intended or not.

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Heather O.
Heather O7 years ago

That would be "dependent" not "defendant" in my last post.

*facepalm* Oh spell check how you both delight and vex me.

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Heather O.
Heather O7 years ago

"With that being said, Roe vs. Wade is a MAN-MADE law that invades the rights of the "embryo", "fetus" "blob" "tissue" whatever evasive name Pro-Choice people assign to a human being in the uterus. Abortion punishes the child for the "sins", poor decisions", or "crimes" of their parents."

Oh PLEASE. Look. If I can't be forced BY LAW to give of my own body even a drop of blood to save someone else's life, even if they will surely die without my personal intervention what on gods green earth makes you think that an unborn baby who is defendant on my body has more rights than that born person who is dying because I won't give what ever they need from my body to save him or her???

By LAW, I cannot be forced nor coerced to give anything of MY body to ANYONE else. If I CHOOSE to do so, that is my RIGHT. I also cannot be forced or coerced into donating a loved one's organs to save ALREADY BORN PEOPLE, should I be placed in that situation. Again, why does an unborn baby's rights trump these already born people's rights?

Oh yeah. IT IS MY BODY. PERIOD.

You sure as hell wouldn't like it if the government said that because you are a perfect tissue match to a stranger that you MUST donate part of your liver or a kidney. That's called the right of BODILY INTEGRITY.

You mind the contents of your own uterus, and keep your morals and religion out of mine. The US is NOT a theocracy, no matter how hard the christians want it to be.

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Lenni C.
Gordon Coulter7 years ago

Thou shalt not kill? Really. How about all the children killed in the wars we're involved in.? Not to mention the soldiers, and civilians.
I hope someday you will realize that no one should be killed by our government. I hate to have my tax dollars used for war. My lobby isn't powerful enough, I guess.

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Rosanne G.
Rosanne G7 years ago

Oklahoma should not post any confidential info regarding abortion or any medical history. It doesn't make sense that a law can be passed that invades privacy.

With that being said, Roe vs. Wade is a MAN-MADE law that invades the rights of the "embryo", "fetus" "blob" "tissue" whatever evasive name Pro-Choice people assign to a human being in the uterus. Abortion punishes the child for the "sins", poor decisions", or "crimes" of their parents. To be Pro-Life means from conception to natural death. I don’t want my taxes to fund abortions. It is not healthcare for women & should not be included in reform. Abortion should not be backup birth control. Prevention is the key & so is accepting God’s will when prevention fails. SEX requires responsibility. This is when the man & woman had a CHOICE. Sexually active people should think past the instant gratification. It's crazy that a mother has the RIGHT TO MURDER when it's against the law for everyone else. “THOU SHALT NOT KILL” no exemptions. It’s too bad if quoting from the BIBLE offends atheists or Pro-choice individuals. I'm not going to play the "politically correct" game. If you don't believe in God, that’s your problem. When you die, I guess you'll be "all dressed up, with no place to go". Maybe you’ll see “dead babies” & you can give them the answer to the question, “What was I supposed to be?”

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