Oklahoma closer to passing a law that creates a database of everyone who has an abortion

Currently, Oklahoma prohibits all abortions except when they are necessary to save the life of the mother.

An Oklahoma bill aiming to establish a comprehensive database of individuals who have undergone abortions has advanced one step closer to becoming law. The legislation, known as the Oklahoma Right To Human Life Act, was authored by state Representative Kevin West and recently cleared the Public Health Committee. It is now slated for a full House vote next month.

The proposed law mandates that the Oklahoma State Department of Health create a database where each patient is assigned a “unique patient identifier”. This identifier would facilitate tracking the number of abortions a patient has undergone and the corresponding dates. Notably, this information, along with the patient’s identity, could be disclosed to authorities under a court order.

Currently, Oklahoma prohibits all abortions except when they are necessary to save the life of the mother, without exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

The bill has ignited intense debate within the committee. State Representative Trish Ranson raised concerns, labeling it a “major privacy issue.” She emphasized the sacred nature of the patient-doctor relationship and expressed alarm at the prospect of patient data being reported elsewhere.

Representative West defended the legislation during the hearing, drawing an analogy between tracking abortions and how public health authorities monitor causes of death. He acknowledged the need to balance privacy concerns and suggested potential adjustments to the bill language to reduce patient identifiability.

Notably, the bill’s development involved collaboration with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal advocacy group. This same group played a pivotal role in arguing the Supreme Court case that led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Additionally, they are currently involved in a lawsuit seeking to ban mifepristone, a medication used in abortions. Recently, they filed a brief with the Supreme Court urging the upholding of an Idaho anti-abortion law.

Beyond the database provision, the bill would require doctors to provide a written justification, under oath, for performing an abortion and for deeming it an emergency situation. Violation of these provisions could result in legal action and license revocation.

Some committee members have expressed apprehension that the law might inadvertently impact certain forms of contraception, including intrauterine devices, although further discussion on this matter is pending.

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