Oklahoma bill wants to create a database of everyone who has had an abortion — and how many — as critics call it a ‘major privacy problem’

The map above shows abortion bans by state, including Oklahoma, where the procedure is banned for fertilization except in medical emergencies
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Oklahoma could soon create a database that would store the information of every woman who has an abortion in the state.

Under the plans, women would be given a “unique identification number” that records the date, gestational age and reason for the abortion.

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It would then be used to track how many consecutive abortions the woman has had – in a state where all abortions are illegal except when necessary to save the mother’s life.

Supporters of the bill say it will help them track abortions in the state in the same way they track births and deaths – but campaigners are calling it a ‘major privacy problem’.

The map above shows abortion bans by state, including Oklahoma, where the procedure is banned for fertilization except in medical emergencies

The map above shows abortion bans by state, including Oklahoma – where the procedure is banned for fertilization except in medical emergencies

Above are campaigners outside the Oklahoma state legislature.  They are urging state lawmakers not to ban abortions

Above are campaigners outside the Oklahoma state legislature.  They are urging state lawmakers not to ban abortions

Above are campaigners outside the Oklahoma state legislature. They are urging state lawmakers not to ban abortions

The data would be stored by the state’s Department of Health, and there are fears that officials could be forced by a court order to release the information, including a woman’s name.

Oklahoma lawmakers proposed the ban earlier this month in House bill HB3216, also known as the state’s “Right to Life Act.”

The bill to create the database was introduced by Representative Kevin West (photo)

The bill to create the database was introduced by Representative Kevin West (photo)

The bill to create the database was introduced by Representative Kevin West (photo)

If the law is passed, doctors would be required to submit details of all abortions they performed – including the names of patients – to the state’s Department of Health.

The state would be required to keep these names confidential and assign each woman a “unique patient identifier” — such as a series of numbers — that would be used in public reports on the data.

Very few abortions are already performed by doctors in Oklahoma – a state that the governor says will become the most anti-abortion state in the US.

Doctors will also have to provide sworn statements as to why the abortion was deemed necessary to ‘preserve the life of the pregnant woman’.

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Doctors who refuse to comply with the law can have their license revoked or be sued by the state.

Although the data can be used to monitor the number of women having more than one abortion, the geographic location of the procedure is not recorded.

The highlighted states have laws on the books that stipulate that life begins at the moment of fertilization.  In Louisiana, the intentional removal or destruction of a human embryo is illegal

The highlighted states have laws on the books that stipulate that life begins at the moment of fertilization.  In Louisiana, the intentional removal or destruction of a human embryo is illegal

The highlighted states have laws on the books that stipulate that life begins at the moment of fertilization. In Louisiana, the intentional removal or destruction of a human embryo is illegal

Cases involving unintentional injury or death to an unborn child during medical treatment do not need to be submitted to the database.

The bill has already survived two readings in the Oklahoma House and passed the House Public Health Committee on a 5-1 vote this week.

It will be voted on again in the House of Representatives next month, before two readings, a committee and a vote in the Senate. Before it becomes law, it must be signed by the governor.

Representatives for Kevin West, who introduced the bill, say it’s not clear when it could become law because hurdles could arise in the Legislature.

The Republican party has a ‘supermajority’ in the House of Representatives – 80 of the 101 available seats – and in the Senate – with 40 of the 48 available seats.

The wording of the bill has already been adjusted to help prevent a ban on contraceptives – IUDs – that can help prevent pregnancy.

If the bill is passed, it will come into effect approximately 30 days later.

Rep. West revealed that he drafted the bill alongside thise Alliance Defending Freedom – which claims to be a Christian law firm and was involved in overturning Roe v Wade.

During a hearing on the bill, he said he wanted to track abortions in the same way the state already tracks births and deaths.

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However, many activists have spoken out against the bill, calling it an invasion of privacy and ‘alarming’.

House Minority Leader Cyndi Munson told the newspaper Daily beast: ‘It’s just a way to keep creating fear and shame.

“(That’s) not just for those seeking abortions, but also for any doctor who provides reproductive health care.”

Democrat Trish Ranson, who served on the health committee, labeled the bill a “major privacy problem.”

“There is a relationship between patient and doctor that is sacred,” she said.

“And the fact that that… would be reported elsewhere, that a number would be assigned to the woman, is… downright alarming.”

It comes as a second bill passes the House of Representatives, which aims to bring drug trafficking charges against people who possess or supply abortion-inducing drugs such as mifepristone.

Under the bill, anyone caught dispensing abortion pills or possessing them with the intent to do so could face up to 10 years in prison or a $100,000 fine.

Mifepristone is one of two abortion bills delivered to women in the state by online pharmacies to help them end a pregnancy.

It is also the subject of legal action from the Alliance of Hippocratic Medicine – a collective of anti-abortion organizations – who say it should be taken off the shelves because it is ‘unsafe’ and the approval process was flawed.

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) refutes the claims, arguing that the drug is safe and effective.

It cited a series of studies showing that serious complications are rare.

Campaigners have also pointed out that the pill has been available since 2000 and has been taken by millions of women across the country, with no serious side effects recorded in the vast majority of cases.

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