Oklahoma Judge Extends Restraining Order Against Abortion Reporting Law
by Steven Ertelt
December 21, 2009
Oklahoma City, OK (LifeNews.com) — An Oklahoma county judge has extended a restraining order against a pro-life law requiring the state to issue better reporting on abortion. District Judge Daniel Owens also has scheduled a February 19 hearing on the lawsuit from the abortion business challenging the law.
Owens placed a temporary restraining order until the date of the hearing.
The Statistical Reporting of Abortions Act, set to go into effect on November 1, received the support of large majorities of the Oklahoma House and Senate.
Governor Brad Henry signed the bill into law in May but it was challenged by the Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-abortion law firm based in New York City.
The law requires a report for each abortion be sent to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The questionnaire gathers demographic information including age, race, marital status and educational level and gathers information on the method of abortion used.
The law also bans sex-selection abortions and helps women by making sure abortion centers follow certain health and safety requirements.
Numerous states have similar reporting requirements, and the abortion industry collects and publishes similar information through annual surveys by the Guttmacher Institute, a former Planned Parenthood affiliate.
Abortion advocates, aided by several recent news accounts, continue to misrepresent a new Oklahoma law strengthening abortion reporting in the state.
Both state and national pro-life advocates say Center for Reproductive Rights has persistently misrepresented the Oklahoma law, claiming that it requires doctors to provide information about where women live.
These assertions are absolutely false, they indicate.
Abortion advocates either don’t understand or else are intentionally misrepresenting Oklahomas new abortion-reporting law, Tony Lauinger, state chairman of Oklahomans For Life, told LifeNews.com.
It is not true, as alleged, that reports about individual womens abortions will be posted online, nor will reports about individual abortions contain personal identifying information: no name, no address, no hometown, no county of residence, no patient ID number," he explained.
"To say otherwise is clearly false and misleads the public," he said.
The new reporting form also asks for the reason the abortion is being sought — something abortion advocates publish themselves through Guttmacher.
Contrary to claims of abortion activists, the new law actually protects a womans privacy more extensively than current Oklahoma law, Lauinger explains.
The current reporting form asks for the womans county of residence. The new law, however, repeals the existing law and any identifying residential information has been eliminated in the new reporting form.
Reports gathered in Oklahoma’s three abortion facilities would be submitted on a monthly basis to the Department of Health which will ensure the security of the reports. The reports may be accessed only by specially authorized departmental personnel who will not be able to identify the woman or know in which of Oklahomas 77 counties she lives.
The Department of Health will then produce an annual statistical analysis of the demographic information and individual abortion reports will not be published.
Lauinger told LifeNews.com that the main reason for the reports is to reduce abortions.
It is hoped that the information gathered will make it possible in the future to address some of the underlying societal problems, such as absence of child support or lack of childcare, which lead some women to seek abortions. Lauinger noted.
Abortion complications will also be reported under the new law, which is important in helping identify when and how abortions hurt women.
"Abortion is the most under-regulated, under-investigated, and under-researched procedure done on American women today, yet it is the most common and most potentially dangerous to their health and well-being," noted Mary Spaulding Balch, the state legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee.
"If a state can get a handle on the reasons women have abortions, it can lead to better programs that will make it easier for women to have their children rather than resort to abortion," she said.
Lauinger concluded: Reducing the number of abortions is a goal that even abortion advocates claim to support. This legislation could help achieve that objective by identifying the problems that lead Oklahoma women to seek abortions. Important public-health benefits will be achieved by Oklahomas Statistical Reporting of Abortions Act."
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, therefore, violates the state constitution.
Charlie Price, a spokesman for Attorney General Drew Edmondson, told the Tulsa World Newspaper, "We will be reviewing the lawsuit over the coming days and will respond to the claims appropriately."
Former state Rep. Wanda Jo Stapleton, D-Oklahoma City, and Shawnee resident Lora Joyce Davis filed the lawsuit with the help of CRR.
Another Oklahoma law is also in court — SB 1878 — which allows women a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn child before having an abortion.
In another lawsuit against the law, Oklahoma County District Judge Vicki Robertson ruled the law violated the Oklahoma Constitution because it covered more than one subject and the state has appealed that ruling.
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