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Oklahoma Abortion Law: Putting Info Online Questioned

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By Minara El-Rahman on December 21, 2009 12:45 PM

CNN reports that last Friday a judge may rule on whether the Oklahoma abortion law (that requires women to provide abortion online information to be posted on the internet) should continue. We wrote about this law previously on Law and Daily Life here.   

The Oklahoma abortion law requires that the details of women who undergo abortions in Oklahoma be posted online and viewable by the public. Under the Oklahoma abortion law,  the following information about women who have abortions would be posted online: the date of the abortion, the country where the abortion took place, age of the mother, marital status of the mother, race of the mother, years of education of the mother, state or country of residence of the mother, and total number of previous pregnancies of the mother.

While the law does not post information such as names, addresses or any other information that would directly identify the patient, critics of the law say that the information that the law requires is enough to identify individuals in small communities in Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, legislators who support the bill say that is not the intention of the law. State Sen. Todd Lamb (R) told CNN: "We're not trying to embarrass anybody, hurt anybody or make anybody's identities known. That's not the purpose of the legislation. We want to collect hard data that can be a useful tool in helping prevent future unwanted pregnancies."

In the meantime, Oklahoma County District Court Judge Daniel Owens heard arguments last Friday and will rule on an injunction to prevent the law from going into effect and on a separate motion to dismiss the law altogether.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit that claims that the law would force an "unlawful expenditure of public funds" which are anticipated to be over $280,000 to initiate and over $250,000 in to maintain annually. The lawsuit also claims that the Oklahoma abortion law violates the state constitution.  

If the law is upheld, it will go into effect by March 2011.

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