April 14, 2024

Legal sparring over privacy in Oklahoma abortion laws

Information posted on Health Department website

A legal battle has arisen in Oklahoma
over stringent new state abortion laws set to be passed at the start
of November. The laws require extensive personal information to be
posted to the Health Department’s website, raising privacy concerns
for women seeking abortion.

The laws require a comprehensive
extensive set of 37 details from women seeking abortions, including
age, marital status, number of children, level of education and the
relationship of the mother to the biological father. Personally
identifiable information is not required for the questionnaire and
the Health Department has been directed to prevent any personal
information from appearing on the site.

Oklahoma is a small state. Abortion
rights advocates say that it would not be difficult to identify the
women, even if neither their names nor other personally identifiable
information would be published.

A New York Times editorial described
the law as “political”, and that “Its real aim is to persuade
doctors to stop performing abortions by placing new burdens on their
practice, to intimidate and shame women, and to stigmatize a legal
medical procedure that one in three women have at some point in their

A temporary restraining order was
passed this week by a district court judge, due to claims by
opponents that the law was unconstitutional. A legal technicality led
to the restraining order; in Oklahoma, disparate issues may not be
addressed in a single bill. ~ Los
Angeles Times Oct 21
, AP
Oct 26
, New
York Times Oct 25


Jared Yee