Monday, October 19, 2009

New Law Pits Internet Against Women's Rights

Women in Oklahoma, beware, the Web is being used against you..

Update: As part of the legal challenge against the bill, the start of enforcement has been postponed until December 4, so that the judge could "look further into the case." Stay tuned...

Instead of using technology to increase access to care, broaden the range of options for care and unite consumers in pursuit of care, Oklahoma legislators are hoping to bring the state back to the time of the Salem witch trials or Nathaniel Hawthorne, take your pick.

As of November 1, you'll have another, higher hurdle to jump to get an abortion in your state. Starting on that date, you'll be asked more than 30 personal questions about yourself, including your race, marital status, age, medical history and reasons for getting an abortion. If it wasn't enough that only 4% of Oklahoma counties even have an abortion provider, those practitioners will have to submit that personal information to the state Health Department, which will then post the answers on a public website. No, it won't include your name and other "identifying information," but I'm sure that's small comfort to women from small towns, especially those of a racial or ethnic minority, God forbid.

Pro-choice groups have filed a lawsuit contending the bill tackles more than one subject at once, a violation of the Oklahoma constitution, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for October 30. In case you were dubious, this procedural gambit has worked before, in the case of a bill requiring women to get a graphic description of an ultrasound before being allowed to get an abortion.

For more information:
See the text of the bill here -- It's HR 1595

Center for Reproductive Rights case information