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Oklahoma Lawmaker Proposes Database To Track Women Who Have Abortions

Kevin West, from his website.

Oklahoma lawmakers are considering legislation that could establish a database tracking women who have abortions and potentially ban emergency contraception, according to reporting by The Oklahoman. The bill, House Bill 3216, introduced by Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, has ignited debate among both Republican and Democratic legislators over its implications for birth control access and privacy rights.

During a recent session, concerns were raised by a bipartisan group, including the chair of the House Public Health Committee, about the bill’s potential to restrict certain birth control methods, such as intrauterine devices (IUDs). Despite these concerns and a promise from West to amend the bill’s language, it passed the committee stage along party lines, with Rep. Trish Ranson, D-Stillwater, casting the lone dissenting vote.

Chairwoman Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay, and a nurse practitioner, underscored the importance of birth control in preserving the life of the unborn, challenging the bill’s initial broad scope. West, in response, pledged to revise the bill to focus on over-the-counter contraception not supervised by a physician, leaving prescription-based methods like IUDs and birth control pills unaffected.

This legislative effort, developed in collaboration with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian law firm, follows the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s annulment of recent anti-abortion laws. Oklahoma’s stringent abortion laws allow exceptions only to save the mother’s life, excluding cases of rape or incest.

HB 3216 seeks to intensify these regulations by enabling civil lawsuits against anyone assisting in obtaining an abortion and mandating detailed physician reports for each procedure. The introduction of a “unique patient identifier” raises significant privacy concerns, potentially enabling the Oklahoma State Department of Health to track women who have abortions.

In parallel, the House Criminal Judiciary Committee advanced another bill, making it a felony to deliver or possess abortion-inducing drugs. House Bill 3013, championed by Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader, R-Piedmont, targets individuals providing abortion pills, threatening severe penalties for facilitating what the bill deems unlawful abortions.

These legislative initiatives reflect Oklahoma’s ongoing efforts to further restrict abortion access, raising critical questions about privacy, women’s health, and the legality of such measures. As these bills move toward a full House vote, they underscore the state’s contentious position in the national abortion debate, hinting at potential legal challenges and further polarization on this divisive issue.