Bill Would Make Tennessee Name Abortion Doctors

Some worry providers could be targeted
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2012 1:10 PM CDT
A protester cheers as she holds a sign, "Stop the War on Women!," during the "Walk in My Shoes, Hear Our Voice" protest Monday, March 12, 2012 at the state Capitol in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jason Getz)

(Newser) – A bill under consideration in Tennessee would reveal the names of doctors who perform abortions, and could even inadvertently identify women who undergo the procedure, activists worry. Abortion providers currently have to record information about each patient, which the state's Department of Health collects. The Life Defense Act of 2012 would require that the info be published online. Proponents say it would increase the flow of information about abortions in the state; opponents say its real purpose is to intimidate doctors who perform abortions and the women who seek them. Activists fear the bill could endanger doctors, including those who are not abortion specialists but who perform the procedure during emergencies or miscarriages.

Under the Life Defense Act, the names of women who get abortions would remain under wraps, but their age, race, education, and number of kids would be posted by county—meaning that some smaller communities could possibly be able to identify these anonymous women. The Tennessean notes that because the state Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that abortion is protected by the state constitution as a right, the state can't go as far in its regulation tightening as, say, Virginia. A state House committee will likely look at the bill on Wednesday.

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