Doctors Declare Oklahoma Abortion Reporting Act Harms Doctor/Patient Relationship

Robin Marty

Medical groups urge Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry to veto the Statistical Abortion Reporting Act.

It hasn’t even been 24 hours since the Oklahoma state legislature passed yet another invasive piece of anti-choice legislation, and already the Governor is being pressured to veto the measure.  This time, not just by activists, but from medical professionals, including many from his own state.

The Oklahoma State Medical Board, in conjunction with Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH), a national network of pro-choice physicians, have sent a letter to Gov. Henry asking him to veto the recently passed Statistical Abortions Reporting Act.  The Statistical Abortions Reporting Act forces all women who are undergoing the procedure to answer a very extensive and often invasive 38 question long survey before having an abortion.

Suzanne Poppema, MD, board chair of PRCH, states, “This is yet another attempt to stop women from having abortions under the guise of concern for women’s health. The decision to end a pregnancy is one best left to a woman and her family, in consultation with a trusted physician. Politicians—whether in Oklahoma or elsewhere—should not intrude in this caring professional relationship.”

The letter to the governor from these medical groups follows:

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Dear Governor Henry:
As representatives of thousands of physicians in Oklahoma and beyond, the Oklahoma State Medical Association and Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health stand together in opposition to House Bill 3284, the Statistical Abortion Reporting Act. We ask you to veto this intrusive bill because it would damage the physician-patient relationship and make it more difficult for women in Oklahoma to receive the best medical care.
HB 3284 would impose burdensome reporting requirements on physicians and the patients they serve. The bill would require doctors to ask a woman a list of 38 questions before performing an abortion and then document her answers. Several of the questions probe the intimate details of a patient’s personal life for no medical reason. These questions, crafted by the state, do nothing to improve or protect patient care or the physician-patient relationship. Instead, they undermine the public’s trust in doctors and add delays to patient care.
Physicians already must handle a great deal of paperwork and reporting requirements from insurers and various government agencies. Imposing new, extensive, and extraneous reporting requirements for abortion will not improve patient care; indeed, this legislation will only reduce the time physicians are able to spend with patients.
The Oklahoma State Medical Association is comprised of 4,600 physicians and aims to advance the science and art of medicine for the betterment of Oklahoma physicians and the public we serve. Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health is a doctor-led national advocacy organization. We use evidence-based medicine to promote sound reproductive health policies.
Please veto HB 3284, the Statistical Abortion Reporting Act. Your veto will prevent further intrusion in the doctor-patient relationship in Oklahoma, thereby promoting patient care.
Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health
The Oklahoma State Medical Association

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