On last night's Rachel Maddow Show, Maddow took up the issue of a new law in Oklahoma that would seek to publicly shame and intimidate women who have an abortion by posting various records related to those legal medical procedures online. Score one for small, non-intrusive government, right? Air America's Megan Carpentier has covered this matter, and helpfully enumerates the specific records that the state of Oklahoma has deemed to be important to disclose for the sake of the public interest.
1. Date of abortion
2. County in which abortion performed
3. Age of mother
4. Marital status of mother (married, divorced, separated, widowed, or never married)
5. Race of mother
6. Years of education of mother (specify highest year completed)
7. State or foreign country of residence of mother
8. Total number of previous pregnancies of the mother
9. Number of pregnancies that ended in live births
10. Number of pregnancies that ended in miscarriages
11. Number of pregnancies that ended in induced abortions
The legislature doesn't have any compelling public health reason to collect the data they seek from their citizens who choose to have the most common medical procedure in the United States--note, for instance, women are not require to disclose if the abortion was deemed medically necessary. But anti-abortion forces--like Operation Rescue, which moved over to Oklahoma after one of its supporters assassinated Dr. George Tiller in Kansas--are well known for publicizing personally identifiable information of women seeking abortions or employees of clinics that provide abortion services, and using that information to harass and intimidate (and, in the case of Tiller assassin Scott Roeder, kill) those people using or providing abortion services regardless of the circumstances. The only reason this information is being demanded of women is so that the anti-abortion movement and its political patrons can use it for political purposes.
Carpentier joined Maddow last night to discuss this matter further, and characterized the state's effort as a thinly veiled attempt at deterring women from using their reproductive rights: "They've been very specific, in that their end goal is to keep women from having abortions. They think that by posting the information online, that somehow this will turn into some sort of public health strategy to keep women from obtaining abortions in the state of Oklahoma. They consider women seeking a legal medical procedure, that is actually the most common medical procedure in this country, is a public health problem." Carpentier further reminds viewers that when Kansas compelled Planned Parenthood to disclose their patients' medical records, those records ended up as spank material for the O'Reilly Factor.