Missouri Pro-Life Bill Would Collect Annual Abortion Information
by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
March 14, 2004
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Pro-abortion forces claim there are many reasons why pregnant women seek abortions. But, in Missouri, a state lawmaker is asking the abortion industry to provide some documentation.
State Senator Chuck Gross (R-St. Charles) is sponsoring a bill that would require abortion businesses to report the reasons women give for having abortions. Backers of the measure say that it would help lawmakers make better public policy decisions regarding abortion.
"It never was intended to be a pro-life bill. It was an informational bill," Gross told the Associated Press.
Still, pro-abortion forces remain adamantly opposed to the bill. They claim that it violates a patient’s right to privacy.
"We don’t ask anybody else why they seek medical procedures," Alison Gee, political director for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, told the AP.
But advocates for life maintain that such information is critical to get pregnant women the help they need to choose life for their children.
Samuel Lee, director of Campaign Life Missouri, is an enthusiastic backer of the bill. Lee says that data on why women obtain abortions could help Missouri’s alternatives to abortion programs.
"Since the mid-1990’s the governor and the General Assembly have proposed and enacted appropriations for alternatives to abortion services," Lee said. "If policymakers have a better idea why women are obtaining abortions, then they can more knowledgeably decide how these alternatives to abortion services should be directed."
"Shouldn’t it be the goal of both pro-life and pro-choice individuals to reduce the number of abortions in Missouri?" Lee asked.
Currently, abortionists must report some information to the state, but the reasons for the abortions are not under a reporting requirement. Abortionists inform the state about the date and location of the abortion; the abortion method; the mother’s age, race, marital status, and educational level; the estimated age of the unborn child; and any abortion-related
The legislation also makes it a felony to release any information that could reveal the identity of a patient, or a doctor or hospital that performs abortions.
Interestingly enough, researchers for the abortion industry already collect more detailed abortion data than is required by SB 904. In addition to medical and socio-economic information, data have been gathered on everything from a patient’s religion to her contraceptive use.
Even supporters of the abortion industry have said that more information needs to be gathered about the reasons for abortion.
The Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, has said, "The scarcity of research on why women have abortions points to the need for more work in this area. A comparison of results from studies that obtained only the most important reason for abortion and from others that allowed women to give multiple responses shows that the decision is likely to be motivated by more than one factor."
Pro-life organizations, ranging from pregnancy help centers to Feminists for Life, have said that women seek abortions primarily because of lack of emotional and practical support.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 47 states, New York City, and the District of Columbia collect data on induced abortions.
According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, at least nine of those states require that the reason for the abortion be reported: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, and West Virginia.
Related web sites:
Missouri Right to Life – https://www.missourilife.org
For information about SB 904, see: