Patterico's Pontifications

5/25/2010

Oklahoma Legislature Passes Abortion Questionnaire Law

Filed under: Government,Health Care — DRJ @ 8:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Oklahoma Legislature has passed an abortion questionnaire law over the veto of its Democratic Governor:

“The Oklahoma Legislature overrode Gov. Brad Henry’s veto of an abortion bill that will require women seeking abortions to complete lengthy questionnaires beforehand about their finances, education and relationships.

The Senate voted 33-15 on Tuesday to override the Democratic governor’s veto. The House easily voted to override the veto on Monday.

Of the eight abortion-related bills the Republican-controlled Legislature has passed this session, Henry vetoed two others. One, which would require women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before receiving an abortion, is on hold because of a legal challenge.

“It’s disappointing because every veto override just triggers more lawsuits and legal bills for taxpayers,” said Henry spokesman Paul Sund. “Similar abortion laws passed by the Legislature were challenged and thrown out by the courts last year, and the latest versions are probably headed for the same fate.”

The litigation issue doesn’t concern me since few laws emerge without some legal challenge, but I’m still concerned about this law. Supporters claim it will generate information that makes it easier to understand why women seek abortions:

“The most recent bill mandates women complete a 38-question form, which includes multiple subsections, answering questions about their race, education, income, relationships and reasons for seeking an abortion.

Doctors will be required to fill out an 11-question form about any complications that arise during the procedure. Those who fail to comply could face fines or the loss of their licenses.

The information from the questionnaires will be compiled by the Oklahoma State Department of Health and posted on the agency’s website, but must not include the woman’s name, address, hometown or other identifying information.

Supporters say the information will help lawmakers understand why women get abortions and craft policies to prevent more of them from occurring.

“This is to stop future abortions from happening,” said Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, who sponsored the bill in the Senate. “This is about gathering data to prevent the need for women to make this choice.”

However, concerns expressed by one GOP Senator make sense to me:

“But Republican Sen. Jim Reynolds of Oklahoma City, who opposes abortion, voted against the bill and said he found it “appalling” that information from a personal questionnaire regarding a medical procedure would be provided to a government entity.”

I don’t want the government prying into my health decisions, and I agree that laws like this open the door to more and more official data-gathering.

— DRJ

15 Responses to “Oklahoma Legislature Passes Abortion Questionnaire Law”

  1. I don’t want the government prying into my health decisions

    All due respect, DRJ, abortion is the polar opposite of a health decision. That said, the ultrasound seems like a good requirement (more information about the unborn child is good for “informed consent” — if one is prochoice — and “lets the mother know exactly who she’s about to contract to kill” — if one is prolife).

    But the questionnaire? IMO (am totally prolife) the supposed benefits don’t justify the intrusion into one’s life.

    “This is about gathering data to prevent the need for women to make this choice.”

    We already know what prompts women to feel they need abortion. They need help and support, not questionnaires.

    “No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg.” –prolife feminist Frederica Mathewes-Green

    no one you know (14208b)

  2. I agree, NOYK. The ultrasound makes more sense, and along with being completely informed about what will take internally and externally during the procedure would also allow a woman to make a fully informed decision. After all, this is a life and death decision.

    If the data collected on the questionnaire will be gathered to help lawmakers understand why women get abortions and craft policies to prevent more of them from occurring but will redact the women’s names, addresses, hometown or other identifying information, why require the information in the first place? Obviously, if we are to believe their motives, the personal information is unnecessary.

    This seems at the least an invasion of privacy. It also seems a preposterous attempt to lessen the amounts of abortion that take place. It doesn’t make sense…actually the more I think about it, the more it seems like a really dumb idea

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  3. It makes perfect sense, if the goal is to reduce abortions by intimidating people, driving up cost and intrusiveness (just like mandating ultrasounds) and erecting more barriers before having the procedure.

    Making things more difficult in an already emotional time by making people worry about what the state might pass next after it has that data is a bit like the flipside of people’s worrys about gun registration.

    Have you ever had an abortion, comrade?

    Jamie (e7e438)

  4. Though I am pro-life, I would need more info to convince me the questionaire was a reasonable requirement. I agree with others that the concern over women getting truly “informed consent” makes it reasonable to put some requirements in that area, including an ultrasound.

    The rationale could be to “make it tougher”, +/- intimidate someone from having an abortion, or it could truly be from the interest of those who want to see the documented facts. Lots of things that seem to be “no brainers” get studied, occasionally with unexpected results.

    MD in Philly (cb8efe)

  5. Abortion is a health decision to some people so if we decide abortion questionnaires are okay, what else becomes acceptable?

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  6. What an incredibly stupid law. Just talking about it makes be feel a little stupider.

    Kevin Murphy (5ae73e)

  7. “Okay, before we kill your baby the government needs to know why you’re choosing to do it.”

    As much as I am vehemently opposed to abortion, I still can’t conscience this sort of intrusion; however, the form that doctors must fill out sounds reasonable . . . a pattern of serious complications arrising from a routine medical procedure IS the state’s business — the state being the gov’t entity that licenses doctors.

    And unless there are questions relating to adoption (“Have you considered adoption?”; “Do you consider adoption to be a relavent option?”; “Did a lack of adoption options influence your decision?”) it is very much up in the air as to how much useful information these questionaires will actually produce. Well-intentioned intimidation is still intimidation.

    Icy Texan (380c78)

  8. This questionaire will be thrown out after 5 minutes in court. It’s totally unconstitutional and violates privacy statutes like HIPA

    JEA (9f9fc9)

  9. Oklahoma has several laws like this. They use data-gathering as a crime deterrent. They don’t use the data, don’t look at the data, don’t care about the data. They want people to be afraid, and they know that the idea of big brother watching will stop people.

    I can’t buy a 10lb. bag of fertilizer at Home Depot without having the clerk register me in a state database.

    This conservative state has discovered the power of big brother watching, and it intends to take more of that power.

    Oklahoman (0ebe31)

  10. “Making things more difficult in an already emotional time by making people worry about what the state might pass next after it has that data…”

    They may not even have a plan to pass anything after this law – their hope might be that this law will be enough to induce enough fear in women to opt out.

    I would love to see women opt out – but only because they have become fully informed of the actual procedure, including ultrasound, and come to understand that a life is grows inside them, not a blob. It wouldn’t hurt either to clearly understand what the baby (yeah, you heard me) will be put through on their way to death.

    The Oklahoman law’s fear and intimidation method ultimately will not garner any respect for life forming in the womb. That in itself is sad, and even counterproductive if their goal is to decrease abortion.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  11. @4: The rationale could be to “make it tougher”, +/- intimidate someone from having an abortion, or it could truly be from the interest of those who want to see the documented facts. Lots of things that seem to be “no brainers” get studied, occasionally with unexpected results.

    I’m unaware of any other legislated medical research efforts (I may well could be wrong, though). How would you feel about a law that mandated intrusive data collection of lifestyle informaton and additional procedures at patient cost for, say, diabetes or heart disease research?

    After all, surely reducing incidence of those things is less controversial than reducing incidence of abortion – I’m sure there’s someone somewhere who can be said to be pro-diabetes, but…

    jamie (a01cf1)

  12. Comment by Dana — 5/26/2010 @ 6:18 am

    Well said, Dana.

    no one you know (196ed7)

  13. I agree with DRJ; this is state intimidation, and that will not end well.

    Patricia (160852)

  14. Cruel and unusual punishment comes to mind.

    But then again, I probably fall on the slightly naive side with the thought that most women who choose to have an abortion have fully investigated all other options. Would a questionnaire or a sonogram really deter someone who truly believed they had no other option?

    Texas GOP ran the “ultrasound” requirement up the flagpole here in my DFW-suburb district during the Spring elections. It didn’t pass. I was surprised.

    Em (017d3c)

  15. The ultrasound/sonogram requirement is the one that libs will fight the most, because they know that it strikes at the very heart of their never-admitted justification for having no moral qualms regarding abortion: out of sight, out of mind. If the mother cannot physically see that it is a baby, then PRESTO! it’s just tissue — not a separate living entity that she is incubating within her body at all.

    Icy Texan (97878b)


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