New Oklahoma Law Mandates Publication of Abortion Info

A new Oklahoma law set to take effect on November 1, will require doctors to report extensive information about each abortion performed in the state, which will then be published on government websites. The questionnaire will ultimately be posted on the Oklahoma State Department of Health website and includes information as detailed as a woman’s reason for an abortion, her age, the date the abortion, and the total number of previous pregnancies. Though supporters of the law argue that the omission of a woman’s name and address preserves her right to privacy, opponents assert that it would be possible to identify a woman from a small town from the information to be published, according to Feminists for Choice. The law is also the first in the nation to ban sex-selective abortion.

A lawsuit was filed last week Wanda Stapleton, a former Oklahoma state representative, and Lora Joyce Davis, a resident of Shawnee, Oklahoma. The suit, filed on the plantiffs’ behalf by the Center for Reproductive Rights, alleges that the new law violates the state constitution by covering more than one topic and that it will cause unnecessary spending of taxpayer dollars.

Center for Reproductive Rights staff attorney Jennifer Mondino said in a press release, “Anti-choice forces will stop at nothing to prevent women from having access to abortion services, including resorting to a cheap legislative trick that’s quite clearly unconstitutional…Rather than considering each item alone, as the Oklahoma Constitution requires, the legislature has made last year’s error all over again. These ‘bundled abortion restrictions’ have nothing to do with protecting the people of Oklahoma and everything to do with lawmakers who have political agendas trying to make it harder for women to get abortions and harder for doctors to provide them.” The Center for Reproductive Rights won a similar lawsuit in Oklahoma in August.


Center for Reproductive Rights Press Release 9/29/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 8/20/09; Oklahoma HB 1595; Feminists for Choice 10/6/09

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