On July 29th 2010, Arizona law SB 1304/HB 2649, an expanded abortion reporting bill, went into effect. Observing that our current governor, Jan Brewer is "pro life", as well as the majority of our state's House and Senate, another anti abortion bill passing comes at no major shock to residents of the Grand Canyon State. Certainly it's not the worst of our anti choice legislation considering our mandatory wait period, insurance prohibition, targeted regulation of abortion providers, and teenage consent law.
What do you need to know about a woman who has had an abortion? Does it matter how old she is, her marital status, how much she has in her bank account, or where she works? Are we less judgmental when a woman can "justify" her choice to terminate a pregnancy? Or does the anti choice movement want to strip women of their privacy and place one more roadblock between her and her right to a safe and legal elective abortion? The group Arizona Right to Life brags on their website that "the information [gathered from this bill] gives policymakers and pro-life advocates more statistical information on abortions performed in the state, and the information is also used by crisis pregnancy centers to better serve the needs of women." The movement is sly in their tactics, we can't argue that. Coming from someone who has been a victim of the deception of a "crisis pregnancy center", I can assure you that the information gathered will be used for nothing more than a more educated angle at trying to manipulate women out of their decision to terminate. While I fully support offering resources to women who feel coerced into an abortion, I certainly do not think that giving her false hopes and inaccurate information is going to accomplish that. All it is doing is postponing her decision, but unfortunately sometimes that's all they need to prevent her from obtaining her procedure.
The problem isn't the concept of mandatory reporting, as some statistics can prove beneficial to providing medical research and protecting the health of women. The dilemma with this specific bill is that the recordkeeping required does not respect the patient's confidentiality and right to privacy. For example, reason for abortion data is already required on reports, but the bill language leaves a loophole to include requiring a woman to provide her reason for choosing an elective abortion. Currently, abortion providers are required to report particular information to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS.) This bill expands already existing requirements. It now includes things like seven new court reporting requirements regarding judicial bypass for minors and information from health care professionals about complications that may arise from the procedure. ADHS is already having issues reporting accurate numbers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state, and there is no evidence that requiring additional information will improve reporting outcomes. Despite the fact that individually identifiable references are removed from the final analysis that is available to the public, this law still creates an additional unneccesary burden for the woman, demanding personal information during an already emotional time. Information that is not going to prove beneficial to anyone but those opposed to her right to be there in the first place.