Reproductive rights activists, inspired by The Handmaid's Tale, protest SB 1394 outside the state capitol.EXPAND
Reproductive rights activists, inspired by The Handmaid's Tale, protest SB 1394 outside the state capitol.
Antonia Farzan

Abortion Reporting Bill Removes Questions, Keeps Hassles as It Advances in Arizona House

A bill intended to increase the amount of data that the state collects about abortions passed yet another hurdle Wednesday despite widespread opposition from medical professionals.

In its original form, the proposed law would have required doctors to ask women why they're getting an abortion — and then send that information along to the state.

The version that was approved by the House Judiciary committee Wednesday night gets rid of this intrusive line of questioning. But it still creates a major hassle for abortion providers, advocates say.

Previously, State Bill 1394 would have asked women to select their reason for getting an abortion from a multiple-choice list that reads as follows:

(a) ECONOMIC REASONS.
(b) THE WOMAN DOES NOT WANT CHILDREN AT THIS TIME.
(c) THE WOMAN'S EMOTIONAL HEALTH IS AT STAKE.
(d) THE WOMAN'S PHYSICAL HEALTH IS AT STAKE.
(e) THE WOMAN WILL SUFFER SUBSTANTIAL IMPAIRMENT OF A MAJOR BODILY
FUNCTION IF THE PREGNANCY CONTINUES.
(f) THE PREGNANCY WAS THE RESULT OF RAPE.
(g) THE PREGNANCY WAS THE RESULT OF INCEST.
(h) THE PREGNANCY RESULTED IN FETAL ANOMALIES.
(i) RELATIONSHIP ISSUES, INCLUDING ABUSE, SEPARATION, DIVORCE AND
EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIRS.
(j) OTHER.
(k) UNKNOWN OR THE WOMAN REFUSED TO ANSWER.

The amended version of the bill gets rid of that list, and only asks abortion providers to tell the state "whether the abortion is elective or due to maternal or fetal health considerations." Which they're already required to do under existing state law.

So what's the point?

The answer is that the other, less-controversial parts of bill are still intact. And those would require abortion providers to fill out extra paperwork every time they perform an abortion.

"Even with this proposed amendment, the bill will require doctors to do additional reporting for no legitimate health or safety reason," Planned Parenthood Arizona wrote in a news release.

SB 1394 requires doctors to answer questions that the state doesn't ask about any other medical procedure, let alone one that's extremely safe. What was the name and address of the facility? What type of procedure was performed? Were there any complications? Was anesthesia used on the patient? Was an anesthesia used on the fetus? What was the doctor's specialty? Was it an inpatient or outpatient procedure? Did it take place at a hospital or an abortion clinic?

In other words, it means more work and more headaches for them. Which was clearly the intent all along.

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