New Oklahoma abortion law being challenged

pro_choice-794673As if women didn’t have enough threats to their right to choose in this country, Oklahoma is doing its part to make sure women slowly but surely are demonized and criminalized for their right to choose to have an abortion.

If you live in Oklahoma, I officially extend my condolences.

H.B 1595 is a new provision on Oklahoma abortion laws that now requires, among other restrictions and requirements, an official record and reporting system of all abortions occurring within the state. This report will be available for anyone in the world to view, as it will be made public on a website as of March 1st. The Dept of Health, who among others has supported these new provisions, has declared that since the name and “personal information” will not be reported, there is no cause for concern or protest in regards to privacy issues. However, in reviewing the actual text of the law, the first 8 questions that will be asked and reported could easily be used to identify any member of a smaller community.

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
Miscarriages
Induced Abortions
(OK state legislature website)

In addition, this website will cost upwards of “$281,285 the first year and $256,285 each subsequent year” (Tulsa World News) This is an extravagant cost for a state that is already suffering a budget crisis. Furthermore, this bill makes it illegal to have an abortion, or assist in the process of an abortion that is based solely on the gender of the fetus.

Now, I am just against sexism, whether in the womb or not, as anyone else, and whether you believe that gender is an appropriate reason to terminate a pregnancy or not, 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.

Former state Representative Wanda Jo Stapleton, D-Oklahoma City, and Shawnee resident Lora Joyce Davis have decided to fight against these new restrictions in the form of a lawsuit. ” The lawsuit alleges that House Bill 1595 by Sen. Todd Lamb, R-Edmond, and Rep. Dan Sullivan, R-Tulsa, covers more than one subject and thus violates the Oklahoma Constitution” ( Tulsa World News) Ranging in areas from abortions based on gender, to the re-defining of several abortion related terms, to creating an entire new job for the OK Department of Health to deal with, this law, is simply doing too much. The bill is set to go into effect on November 1st of this year. However, Davis and Stapleton hope that their lawsuit can delay this law from going into effect until they are able to present their appeal to the Oklahoma courts. This lawsuit comes after the most recent Oklahoma overturn of a 2008 law that would have required women to submit to an ultrasound and description by their doctor of the baby before scheduling an abortion.

With lawmakers like this, all i know is, they have officially ruled me out of moving to Oklahoma anytime soon.

Comments

  1. That almost certainly violates HIPPA as well, because the information could be used to identify the patient, regardless of whether or not her name is included.

    So, a good case could be made in a federal court that it violates federal law.

  2. I can’t imagine people actually having time to sit and worry about what other people do in their private lives. My money says that many of these so-called right to life folks neglect their own families to “fight the good fight”. What a bunch of evil people.

  3. They passed an ultrasound bill last year to prevent poor women who cant afford it from getting an abortion. If she cant afford $200 for an ultrasound, maybe she shouldnt have kids.

  4. I’m fairly certain it would only violate HIPA if it was covered by health care, or you sign a HIPA agreement before the abortion.

    Still, that’s an invasion of privacy no matter how you look at it.

  5. Is there a way to find out who voted on this? I’m extremely interested in knowing whether any women in the OK legislature approved this. (And sadly this is not a far-fetched idea; right-wing conservative women are very quick to sell their sisters out. It’s reprehensible and deplorable. Ugh.)

  6. this is outrageous. Thanks for sharing the info kirstin!

  7. THIS SUCKS!

  8. Two words: total bullshit.

  9. This is just one website with information on the HIPAA privacy rules. If this law is acted upon and this information is collected and published it appears that it will be a federal civil rights violation. http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/

  10. The Office for Civil Rights enforces the HIPAA Privacy Rule, which protects the privacy of individually identifiable health information,… ” Here’s the link to the law: http://www.sos.state.ok.us/documents/Legislation/52nd/2009/1R/HB/1595.pdf Could we email that to the OCR at OCRMail@hhs.gov with “Give us a press release on this” in the subject line? Does anyone know how to do a petition?

    The full quote from http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/ :”The Office for Civil Rights enforces the HIPAA Privacy Rule, which protects the privacy of individually identifiable health information, and the confidentiality provisions of the Patient Safety Rule, which protect identifiable information being used to analyze patient safety events and improve patient safety. “

  11. Here is the link to the votes on H.B.1595 in the OK State Senate: http://www.oksenate.gov/legislation/votes/01236.pdf

  12. I think this is great!

  13. In regards to the ultrasound law…thankfully it was repealed soon after. However, the same people who wrote/supported that bill are the ones behind this new measure. Some are saying that HB 1595 is a response to the repeal of the ultrasound law. These people will stop at nothing!

  14. I would think that this “stable website” built by these complete idiots would be a prime and easy target for the 4chan community that repeatedly managed to take down the Scientology websites……

  15. I do not understand this law. What inspired OK legs. to write this? ]I am not for abortion.] Who is accountable for this law? This law is based on humiliation of the woman, certainly not the man. Once again, this is why I believe..in the advances of medicine is there NOT an alternative besides abortion. AB is an ancient practice even Egyptians used. Why can’t women have a modern alternative where we can finally say, abortion is history. Harvesting eggs for the woman, not for stem cells. Immature stem cells are just that, immature. allowing use over the counter of the day after pill. The new world order wants population decrease, they don’t care how you do it, just do it.

  16. Manny Whitlock says:

    Thank you all for your support,

    Being from Oklahoma, I know how deep this really goes. These people have been passing laws that delegitamize us Oklahomans for years. They don’t care if it hurts you or your family or your family of friends. Your rights are violated in Oklahoma as citizen of The United States at an unprecedented level.

    They set up road blocks here and take people to jail for some stupidest things you could imagine. Once they have you in the system here, it’s nearly impossible to become a legitimate citizen again.

    They condemn people beyond the grave here.

    Example: My dad, a deceased man who has gone on to be with the lord, you can pull his record up on this same computer information system they use and it seems as if he is still alive and in prison for a DUI the he in jail for some 8 years earlier. I contacted them about it and they said, “It’s the law”. What is wrong these people? They don’t care who they hurt. It is beyond wicked.

    In the county jail, Oklahoma County, they threatened my life and I was laughed at and mocked for wanting to go to the FBI after I got out of that jail. Well, a couple of months later they did kill a man. You can read the story here: http://www.kwtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=9628928

    This is 2009 and these people think we still live in some backwoods where they can just do as they please and no ramifications come their way. Those days are over.

    Once again,

    Thank you all for your support,

    Manny Whitlock

  17. Like all of you, I was outraged when I first heard about this. But after reading the law – specifically the questions – I’m stupefied, horrified, beyond outraged. There is no way I would ever answer some of those questions!
    Women and pro-choice groups have been focal in their opposition, but where’s the outrage from the doctors? There’s already a shortage of doctors willing to perform abortions. This is an obvious undue burden to both the woman and the doctor.

    This has to stop….

  18. dubadubadubadubadoubleyoubee says:

    Other than the costs you mentioned, I don’t see why this would be a big deal… you could always just lie on the form. Here’s an example:

    1. Today’s date
    2. This county
    3. 20
    4. Married
    5. Inuit
    6. PhD In Theoretical Astrophysics
    7. Ukraine
    8. 18
    Live Births 16
    Miscarriages 2
    Induced Abortions 0

    I made up stuff for all of the answers except for 1 & 2.

  19. Oklahomperson”S need to organize and vote them out!!!!

  20. Thank you for enlightening all of us!
    This entire practice is absolutely sick.
    I’m at a loss for words.

  21. This is unadulterated BULLOCKS. Yet, I’m unsurprised. This state cultivates a paranoid fear of their young women being seduced by shiesty doctors into sacrificing their children without the parents or father’s permission. I don’t pretend to understand it. This state takes the notion of ‘sanctity of life’ into twisted new dimensions, there are creepy billboards everywhere. One thing i’m unsure about however, is the availability of abortions for women who REFUSE to provide the information that the form requires. The law says nothing about a patients right to refuse to disclose – and it imposes stiff penalties on care providers who do not provide the info or knowingly provide false information. Sigh.

  22. @ Edward. Unfortunately, a majority of voters in this state will eat this shit up. I suspect pandering to Ma and Pa Baptist constituent was a huge motivation for the bills authors.

  23. a real live okie with some words, here. my circle in tulsa and norman are outraged by HB 1595 and did what we could to speak out against it when the bill first came up. we’d love to help CRR, stapleton, and davis with the lawsuit and are armed with strong, pro-choice, educated legal writers, researchers, and activists. thanks for the article and for the helpful links provided by your commenters!

  24. Living in Oklahoma, there is one thing that is more important than anything else…being a good little christian. Who cares about rights? Roe v. Wade? Let’s just humiliate and cause further embarassment to a woman who has made this difficult decision to begin with.

  25. There should be a website listing personal information that could be used to identify the people who voted on this- they’re the ones that need to be ashamed.

  26. excuse after excuse, they keep coming up with excuses for these bills. the bible belt isn’t called the bible belt for no reason.

    if men also got pregnant, would it be this difficult? in any case, i live in oklahoma and i voted for rice :) he voted “no” to it. i knew he’d have my back

  27. First, I am an ardent Pro-Choicer having organized tens of thousands of students as far back as the late 80′s working with National and New York NOW and NARAL. I am now an attorney although not specializing in civil rights as I once hoped…

    While I agree that this is another disgusting example of the anti-choice fanatics chipping away at free choice rights, I do not agree that being defensive is the best way to fight this.

    Rather, it would be best to follow the old adage – The best defense is a strong offense.

    For example, show these morons the folly of their endeavor by EXPANDING the scope of this site. Start with patients being prescribed Viagra, having prostate issues, penile implants and men taking impotence drugs.

    Watch how quickly this law will be overturned.

    The question is not whether it is constitutional to put medical information online in this manner. The question is whether it is constitutional to just pick this one particular medical procedure.

    If you require the all or nothing approach, you accomplish two things – the first being the same fear of embarrassment of these morons as they are trying to inflict on others and the second is hitting them in the wallet by requiring them to set up all these sites for all different medical issues and hiring people to maintain them.

    Watch how quickly the Republican and Conservatives who hate to spend money will fight it.

    By pushing to expand this to an all-or-nothing, you require the people supporting this to acknowledge that it has nothing to do with any real medical, historical or statistical reasons but rather only to harass and embarrass women.

    Indeed, what argument can they make to pick abortion only and nothing else unless it is a pretext.

    And, the strong offense worked in the past. Rather than spend fruitless days in front of Planned Parenthood as a buffer between the anti-choice zealots and the clinic, we went on the offensive and started having demonstrations in front of THEIR headquarters and their bogus “Birthright” clinics. It only took a few weeks before they got the message and left the local PP alone… It was quite humorous to watch them try to explain why what they were doing was ok but what we were doing wasn’t even though it was the same thing…

    Anyway, the point is: Force them to make it all or nothing because they can’t handle all so they will be stuck with nothing…

    Just my 2 cents… Hope someone involved with this at a high enough level can pass this on… And really wish I could do more these days…

  28. I am a heavy conservative, but I do agree that a woman’s details should be nobody’s business.

  29. Liz Barrett says:

    What a sad state of affairs. A woman in trouble can’t even keep something like an abortion as her own private affair. It certainly is the business of no one else, and I am thankful that I don’t live in the state of Oklahoma. Those more-righteous-than-thou people are really hard to take. May all of them get pregnant and may all of them bear gay children.

  30. If abortion is ok, then why would those who have abortions need to worry about people in their community finding out about it? If having an abortion is a victory for women’s rights, it seems that they would be proud to tell the world. Perhaps that’s where shame comes into play and abortion really isn’t ok. Perhaps they are “pro-choice and ashamed” instead of proud.

  31. Darla Reynolds-Sparks says:

    Mike’s post on Oct 20 is absolutely the best advice. In this backward state of white, male Republicans and white, male preachers that is called Oklahoma, this offense is the very best way to “play” with these guys! Most of those mouthers of piety have more doctor treatments for malehood problems than can be reiterated in this post. Facts are they would back down from these ridiculous attacks on females if met with these same tactics. Publicity is the number one way to stop all these “Head of the Household” types.

    Bravo Mike Bravo!

  32. I would love all those “anti-choice” and “anti-women” fanatics to see an older European film, “Four months, three weeks, two days”, in short 432. It would show that their restrictions are a shame for a democratic country and their bills cutting women’s right to choose are similar to those instituted in hard-core communist countries…I think it would be a nice film to see for those who still believe abortion is for sluts and they should suffer by either having the child or dying from an attempted abortion…
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1032846/

  33. As far as I’m concerned, a woman’s right to reproductive autonomy is inferior to an unborn’s right to life. Once the world wakes up to this concept, we can stop devaluing human life so much.

  34. As a recovering Oklahoman (gone 3 years now) I read with some amusement all these comments for corrective action. No one really understands this state unless you live there. The population supports this law. No one would introduce a bill to make it mandatory to fill out this questionnaire for every medical procedure. I worked for the AG in Oklahoma and when this law was passed, I contacted him to encourage him not to appeal the restraining order that is in effect right now, barring the implementation of this law. He said sometimes he is legally obligated to do things that he disagrees with; he is also running for governor. Yes, there were many women legislators that voted for this. Yes, it is a crime if a doctor files false information on this form; it is a crime to lie on the form. You don’t get it. Simple answers don’t address the very deep issue of ignorance, sexism, racism and every other evil “ism” that thrives in this state. I am sure Sarah Palin has the highest approval rating in the US in Oklahoma. She is their darling. Oklahoma is the only state where President Obama did not win one county, not one. It is sad and it is tragic for the women in the state. Changing laws is not going to change this state. I left and I encourage others to do the same. My children will certainly never move back there (one reason I left too).

  35. We are proud of these new anti-abortion laws in Oklahoma! There is no greater cause that protecting lives of innocent human beings. I don’t oppose choice, but I oppose ANYONE’S choice to end the life of an innocent human being. Bottom line. Life is precious, and the choice to “make your life easier” is not an inherent right. And is it any of our business what happens to another human being? Of course it is! If a child is being abused do we not call social services? If a person is being attacked by another human do we not call for help? If a person is suffering do we not try to help them? We are simply trying to protect the lives of humans in their pre-born environment. It’s out of love and compassion that we pass these laws and we offer support, guidance, compassion, and any other help that any girl or woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy needs. There is a better way.

  36. I live in Oklahoma and I feel this state legislature is insane. They are so radical, they would do anything to have their way. I fear for the State of Oklahoma when I our Gov. leaves office. I am moving all our medical out of state. There is no choice, but too leave Oklahoma. I could never trust a GYN in Ok. now. They don’t have to tell you the truth, they can lie, or omit the truth. Better to leave Ok. medical behind us. Thank God I’m close to another state, so it will be easy to transfer.

  37. I am a performance poet and I wrote this poem two years ago when this was circulating in the senate.. I am glad it is being fought as hard but hate that this poem is still relevant.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9QI4v9Jehs

  38. WERTEFU says:

    WTF? Past pregnancies? WHY IS THAT ANYONE’S BUSINESS? Sorry for women in Oklahoma. I guess start lying to your doctors so the info isn’t accurate.

    You stone age Oklahomans make me sick. Literally stone age: you would stone women in the street like the Bible tells you if you thought you could get away with it.

  39. There are only 2 or 3 counties in Oklahoma that provide abortions. This information doesn’t easily identify the woman as you say.

  40. freewomyn says:

    More to the point – this is a basic issue of privacy. When I go to the doctor to get a toenail fungus looked at, that’s private information. How is reproductive health care any different than the patient confidentiality that is legally sacrosanct in every other area of health care?

  41. There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY you would be able to identify someone based on answers to the above questions.