Roundup: Oklahoma’s Abortion Reporting Law “Not About Women”

Women in Oklahoma might be surprised to learn that a bill that would require them to report their “marital status, age, race, education, number of live births, number of miscarriages, number of induced abortions, type of abortion and reason for the abortion” is, apparently, not about them at all.

“This is not about women,” said Sen. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City.

“It is about children in the womb deserving a life that got created. It is not about harassing women.”

Victims of rape or incest are not exempt from the reporting requirements.

Does this sound familiar? That’s because it was intended to become law last November, but Oklahoma courts struck down the measure as unconstitutional because the bill in which it was included addressed more than one issue at a time. The new, singularly focused Statistical Abortion Reporting Act passed the Oklahoma House on Monday and the Senate yesterday.

While some legislators are seemingly embarrassed about the state’s radical anti-choice laws,  

Sen. Debbe Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City, said such legislation makes the rest of the country joke about Oklahoma.

“This goes too far,” she said. “Do we keep wanting to make national news by going too far in how we treat women?”

others seem to think Oklahoma is not quite at the level of disgrace. (What’s the step just above disgraceful? Shameful?)

The bill’s Senate author, Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, said, “To say Oklahoma is the disgrace of the nation, I think might be pushing the rhetoric a little bit too far.”

The next step for the “not about women” reporting bill will be Governor Brad Henry’s desk. He vetoed the two most recent abortion bills, but the objections were overturned by the legislature.

Mini-roundup: Rep. Lois Capps (D-NY) introduces the Global MOMS Act, which calls for developing a strategy to reduce maternal and infant mortality and improve the health of moms and babies in developing nations. Joining her at the press was supermodel turned documentary filmmaker, Christy Turlington.

May 11

Abortion bill begs veto –

Sessions: Kagan Won’t Shift Court on Abortion – CBS News

Abortion opponents to present petition to Beach council tonight – The Virginian-Pilot

McInnis, once clearly pro-choice, embraces anti-abortion personhood – The Colorado Independent

Elena Kagan Abortion Memo Offers New Look at Nominee – ABC News

Scientists to test ultrasound as a male contraceptive – BBC News

As pill turns 50, a push within Islam for family planning – Religion News Service

Kennedy, the Pill and Conservatives for Contraception – Huffington Post (blog)

World Bank boosts focus on reproductive health – Reuters

Judge to rule if bite from HIV-positive man counts as bioterrorism – USA Today

South African police bust HIV/AIDS pyramid scheme – Reuters

US expands Caribbean AIDS program – AFP

Austin mural sends message – Chicago Tribune

India, despite poor health care, sees drop in maternal mortality – Christian Science Monitor

Male Birth Control Pill: What’s the Hold-Up? – Discovery News

Annette Bening on Mother and Child, Teen Pregnancy, and Playing the Woman You Wouldn’t Want to Meet in the Grocery Store – New York Magazine

May 12

As Clinton Aide, Kagan Recommended Tactical Support for an Abortion Ban – New York Times

Bargaining for Health Care Reform – Flagpole Magazine

San Francisco values save the world – San Francisco Chronicle

Abortion bill puts governor on the spot – Sun-Sentinel

Abortion reporting bill passes Oklahoma Senate –

Abortion info bill wins Senate OK – Tulsa World

Should you use the contraceptive pill to skip your period? – ABC Local

National HIV Vaccine Awareness Day-May 18, 2010 –

New drug control strategy signals policy shift – The Associated Press

Africa’s deadly backroom abortions – Globe and Mail

Genital wart virus may raise men’s risk of HIV – Reuters

Maternal health bill introduced – Ventura County Star

‘Teen Mommalogues’: Sex education from the adolescent perspective – San Luis Obispo Tribune

The pill turns 50: Birth control method is the catalyst of change, controversy – Times Herald-Record

How to fight cervical cancer – India Today

Rally to urge veto of anti-abortion bill – Bradenton Herald

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact

  • crowepps

    “It is about children in the womb deserving a life that got created. It is not about harassing women.”

    Surely if they want to find out why women choose NOT to have abortions, the people who should be answering those questions are pregnant women who plan to CONTINUE their pregnancies.

  • catseye71352

    Just shows to go, this idiot regards women as ambulatory incubators without lives or feelings.

  • faultroy

    I agree with you.  I also think that this kind of law could be used for other purposes.  There are other ways of obtaining this info–as long as it is not too specific.  For example the center in which the abortion is done can help the individual fill out a questionaire.  There may be some legitamacy in asking certain questions, but overall they’re treading on some really soft and dangerous ground. This really makes me feel uncomfortable.

  • crowepps

    If the purpose of the questionaire is actually to find out ‘why do women choose abortion and what can be done to prevent that’, the study is not constructed scientifically.  A scientifically valid study would have a design which would ask ALL pregnant women why they made the decision they made, INCLUDING the ones who never thought about abortion at all, and would have a control group of women who weren’t pregnant at all.


    Based on that, I think the purpose of the study, and the ultrasound law, is focused purely on shaming and blaming – letting all women know they’re going to be physically and mentally tortured before the abortion and women who don’t want to be humilated won’t try to get legal abortions at all.


    In practice it follows the successful Catch-22 of making rape illegal and then making sure the rapists don’t have to do any prison time by shaming and blaming  their victims, or accusing them of making false reports out of spite, so that fewer women are willing to take the risk of reporting the crime.

  • squirrely-girl

    the study is not constructed scientifically.


    Well that’s what you get when a bunch of politicians try to play doctor and scientist…