As 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
(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.