It seems that the Tennessee chapter of the "He-Man Woman Haters Club" wants in on a little of the anti-choice hyseria sweeping the nation at the moment. After all, they likely figure, just because the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that abortion was a right protected by the state constitution, why should they be forced to sit in the sidelines while states like Oklahoma and Texas and North Carolina have all the misogynistic fun?
The first would require doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital near where they perform abortions, while the second would require the Department of Health to release more information on abortions, including the name of the doctor who performed the procedure and demographics about the women who receive them.
The measure’s sponsor, Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, said at an initial hearing on the bill earlier this month that the reporting requirement writes into law a form that the Department of Health already asks providers to fill out whenever they perform an abortion.
“The Department of Health already collects all of the data, but they don’t publish it,” he said. “All we're asking is that the data they already collect be made public.”
Hill said the bill was suggested by Tennessee Right to Life, an anti-abortion group. Brian Harris, the group's president, said the bill would give people better information about abortion in Tennessee.
The whole thing is offensive in the extreme, but here's the single most offensive part of HB 3808, IMO:
(a) For the purpose of promoting maternal health and life by adding to the sum of medical public health knowledge through the compilation of relevant data, and to promote the state’s interest in protection of the unborn child, a report of each abortion performed shall be made to the department of health on forms prescribed by the commissioner of health. The report forms shall not identify the individual patient by name and shall include the following information:Now, obviously, no names of abortion patients will be handed over to the public (that'll likely be next year when the "Shame The Baby-Killing Sluts" bill goes through), but consider this: while a woman in Nashville or Memphis would almost certainly be able to retain her anonymity should this bill pass, women in small towns won't be so lucky. After all, Tennessee has some small and under-populated counties. With this kind of information available to the public, how difficult would it be for a half-determined person to do a little web surfing, then put two-and-two together and figure out that it was little Mary Ellen over in Harlot Holler' who went and got herself into the Devil's business? And wouldn't that make for some interesting times at the PTA? At church?
(1) Identification of the physician who performed the abortion and the physician’s office, clinic, hospital or other facility where the abortion was performed;
(2) The county and state in which the woman resides;
(3) The woman’s age, race and marital status;
(4) The number of prior pregnancies and prior abortions of the woman;
(5) The gestational age in number of weeks of the unborn child at the time of the abortion;
(6) The type of procedure performed or prescribed and the date of the abortion; and
(7) Pre-existing medical conditions of the woman which would complicate pregnancy, if any, and, if known, any medical complication which resulted from the abortion itself.
Of course, I've barely spoken about the doctor's themselves being identified. The Tennessean again:
The bill also could endanger doctors who perform abortions, opponents say. For the first time, state health officials would have to gather the names of doctors who perform abortion procedures. That information could be used by abortion opponents to target those doctors, foes of the bill say.So there you have it: hatred wrapped in fear, draped in ignorance, swaddled in false morality, and packaged in a big bright box labeled "Information".
Abortion specialists are not the only doctors who would have to submit such information. Opponents say other practitioners, such as obstetricians who perform abortion procedures during emergencies or miscarriages, would also have to report their involvement.
“In an environment where doctors are victims of violence — and we’ve had physicians who provide abortion care murdered in the past few years — I think this is an attempt to intimidate and allow for providers to be terrorized,” said Jeff Teague, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee.
If you live in Tennessee and care about women and privacy, you may want to spend today and tomorrow calling and emailing to demand a stop to this insanity.