Thursday, October 08, 2009

WHAT?

That was my initial response when I read this headline

Oklahoma To Post Details Of Women's Abortions Online

A new Oklahoma law requires physicians to disclose detailed information on women's abortions to the State's Department Of Health, which will then post the collected data on a public website. The controversial measure comes into effect on November 1 and will cost $281,285 to implement, $256,285 each subsequent year to maintain.

Oklahoma women undergoing abortion procedures will be legally forced to reveal:
1) Date of abortion
2) County in which abortion is performed
3) Age of mother
4) Marital status of mother
5) Race of mother
6) Years of education of mother
7) State or foreign country of residence of mother
8) Total number of previous pregnancies of the mother

Proponents of the legislation claim that women should not be concerned over their privacy since no names or "personal information" will be reported.


You know, anti-choice advocates love to say that they care about women, that they aren't pursuing their cause to punish women, and I wonder how they can say that with a straight face. Also, given the cost to implement and maintain this database, I have to wonder what will go unfunded in the state of Oklahoma and if the most Oklahoma tax payers feel this is a good use of their tax dollars.

I read the list of what a woman will be required to reveal and it highlights what the anti-choice activists believe about women who get abortions. I wonder why they didn't demand that women also reveal their religious affiliation and, possibly, their church. Could it be because they are afraid of finding out how many of their fellow parishioners, people who claim to believe what they believe, are also seeking this procedure? Just as they argue that the Bible says "Thou shalt not kill," but they seem to think assassinating George Tiller in a house of worship doesn't count, a lot of people's definition of "necessary" changes when it stops being about nameless, faceless people and becomes about one's self or one's loved ones.

I know the goal is to bring shame upon women who exercise their legally protected right to choose what happens to their bodies, but what if that plan backfires? What if people realize that these aren't random women who you can easily pigeon hole in your mind, these are their daughters, sisters, mothers, and friends? What if instead of shaming women, women embrace it and say, "yes, this is what I had to do and I would do it again." The power the scarlet letter holds is people's fear and people's shame.

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