Starting Nov. 1, any woman who has an abortion in Oklahoma will have to fill out an extensive questionnaire that will subsequently be posted online. Supporters of the law say that the information will help healthcare officials reduce the number of abortions. They also reason that the answers must be posted online so academic researchers can access the data.
As you can imagine, the logic behind these assumed advantages, along with the entire premise of posting extensive information about individual abortions online, is flawed for various reasons. Here are a few:
- Even though the questionnaire does not ask for name or address, the first eight questions alone most likely would be enough to identify a woman in a town of 200 or less.
- The data will not be suitable for academic research because of the way it is collected. Since a woman could fill out a questionnaire each time she sees a doctor about seeking an abortion, her data could appear to represent more than one patient.
- The questionnaire contains loaded language, such as: "Was there an infant born alive as a result of the abortion?"
Luckily, those opposed to the questionnaire and database have filed a lawsuit that will hopefully prevent the dubious law from going into force. What do you make of all this?