As Senator Nelson continues crusading to expand the Hyde Amendment, the state of Oklahoma is attempting to leverage more restrictions on abortion: new regulations force women to answer 30+ questions pre-procedure, with the answers posted to a state-run website.
Supporters of the Oklahoma bill claim that women will be kept anonymous because their names and county of residence will be omitted. Women who oppose the bill point out that women, particularly in rural areas, could be identified based on the data requested. And what does the new law ask?
The survey in Oklahoma's new abortion law includes some of the following questions: Would having a baby dramatically change a woman's life, or interfere with her job or education? Is she unemployed, or unsure of a relationship with the father?
"This is not going in and getting a wart removed. This is a procedure that ends a human life," says Oklahoma state Rep. Dan Sullivan. He says the law is valid and necessary.
"And because it's a special procedure, we believe that it's appropriate to be able to find out why these are going on and if there is something that we can do to change that," Sullivan says.
CNN has more information on the questions posed:
The law requires doctors to fill out a 10-page questionnaire for every abortion performed, including asking the woman about her age, marital status, race and years of education.
One section of the "Individual Abortion Form" says the woman must state her reason for seeking an abortion and answer this checklist. "Having a baby:
• Would dramatically change the life of the mother;
• Would interfere with the education of the mother;
• Would interfere with the job/employment/career of the mother."
So what part of the reasons why women have abortions is a mystery? Proponents of anti-choice laws (many of whom are in the state legislature) seem to want to pretend that they care about women and want to invade their privacy in order to "help." But what are they planning to do? If a woman says it she is aborting due to financial concerns, are they going to funnel money into family support programs, and job training? Doubtful, particularly considering how the last law that Oklahoma tried to pass regarding abortion required doctors to describe the fetus during the ultrasound.
The survey - combined with the desire to make the information accessible to the public - reflects a larger push to stigmatize women making the choice to end their pregnancies. It is in this way many opponents of the right to choose hope to work around Roe vs. Wade. Instead of challenging the law outright, they attempt to chip away at the protections and make it more and more difficult for women to obtain the services. After all the talk of trying to "help" women, the bottom line is always the same:
Why draft the legislation?
"I'm pro-life," he says. "Oklahoma is a conservative state. We are a pro-life state, and I believe it's important public policy to stand on the side of sanctity of life."
After all, if anti-choicers are interested in reducing abortion, it's clear what needs to be done.
Linda Meek, executive administrator of Reproductive Services in Tulsa, Okla., says [the law is] discouraging and intrusive to patients.
"If they want to reduce the number of abortions, then they need to concentrate on educating women about preventing unwanted pregnancies, educating them about emergency contraception, birth control - and making birth control more accessible," Meek says.
Nelson rejects abortion compromise [Politico]
Abortion Reporting Requirements Across The Country [NPR]
Oklahoma Abortion Law 'Invasive,' Critics Say [NPR]
Online posting of women's abortion information challenged in Oklahoma [CNN]