Arizona’s Senate Bill 1394, introduced Tuesday, prompted some pro-abortion activists to invoke a fear of an inauguration of a dictatorial society.
Dressed as characters from the dystopian story “The Handmaid’s Tale,” these women suggested that the bill, which would require abortion clinics to ask detailed questions of their patients before performing the abortion, will significantly curtail women’s so-called “right” to an abortion, Cronkite News reports.
Serena Kneirim, a former Planned Parenthood patient, protested the anticipated restriction to abortion. Kneirim declared that had Planned Parenthood not been available to perform her abortion, she would have “gone home and tried to figure it out on my own.”
She added, “I would not have stopped until I was no longer pregnant.”
This shocking response was prompted by a bill that is simply strengthening current Arizona statute regarding reporting requirements. SB 1394 updates the inquiries that abortion providers are required to ask; it adds questions about why the patient is seeking an abortion and what caused the pregnancy. It also specifies the medical complications that abortion providers must report should they occur, and requires the abortion provider to report the abortionist’s level of experience. The bill concludes by detailing a new informed consent report.
SB 1394 is aimed at abortion providers rather than the women seeking abortions. For example, women are not required to answer the questions asked, and the bill erects more safeguards to ensure that a woman’s privacy is protected during the reporting that abortion clinics are already required to do, according to the report.
According to the Center for Arizona Policy, the bill “will provide critical information and data for policymakers as they seek to improve women’s health and well-being.” Its website lists other justifications for this bill, including its constitutionality based on the U.S. Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and the fact that the detailed reporting will strengthen the enforcement of current Arizona statute.
State Rep. Athena Salman, D-Tempe, said this bill is “invasive.” According to the local news, Salman said, “The questions pretty much put the government between you and your doctor.”
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona agreed. They stated, “SB 1394 has the motive of shaming patients for seeking an abortion.”
But Cathy Herrod, the Center for Arizona Policy’s president and the author of this bill, according to AZ Advocates, stated, “It’s simply trying to define better why women are having an abortion, exactly what complications may be occurring from an abortion.” She said the bill will allow “policymakers, health care professionals and pro-life and pro-choice people to better meet the needs of women.”
In addition to tracking the medical injuries and deaths that abortions have caused, this bill also may provide a better safeguard for the women who are forced or coerced to have abortions. Data from the questions about the circumstances surrounding abortions can provide statistical evidence that parents, would-be fathers, and communities often force abortion on women.
Despite chilling allusions to The Handmaid’s Tale, SB 1394 may in fact expand women’s rights.