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Antiabortion-rights group intensifies efforts to collect more abortion data

August 24, 2016 — The Charlotte Lozier Institute on Wednesday released a report calling on states to collect more data on abortion care and women who obtain abortion care, spurring privacy concerns among abortion-rights advocates, Politico Pro reports.

Background

According to Politico Pro, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Guttmacher Institute already collect abortion data. However, CDC does not mandate that states submit information about abortion care and the Guttmacher Institute does not collect the information on an annual basis.

The report is the latest in multiple efforts by antiabortion-rights groups to increase the amount of data collected on abortion care and abortion patients, spurred in part by the Supreme Court's ruling striking down abortion restrictions in Texas' omnibus antiabortion-rights law (HB 2). In that decision, the high court cited multiple peer-reviewed studies showing that restrictions would result in a demand for abortion care that would supersede the number of abortion clinics in the state, as well as studies demonstrating the safety of abortion care. In turn, abortion-rights opponents said the Supreme Court's reliance on such data supported the call for additional reporting requirements.

For example, another antiabortion-rights group, Americans United for Life, has urged states to provide more data on abortion care and called on federal lawmakers to enact a federal law requiring data collection on abortion.

Abortion-rights supporters have voiced concerns that additional reporting requirements could endanger the privacy and safety of patients and abortion providers, who already face substantial harassment and clinic violence. Further, they noted that an overwhelming amount of evidence already exists showing that abortion care is a very safe procedure with a minimal complication rate, eliminating the need for additional data.

Report details

On Wednesday, the Charlotte Lozier Institute -- which considers itself the education and research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) -- plans to submit the report to the SBA List's National Pro-Life Women's Caucus. The caucus includes 167 female lawmakers at the state level who oppose abortion rights.

The report suggests a model system of reporting requirements for states based off of Minnesota's approach, which collects a large amount of data and makes a year's information public the following summer. Specifically, the organization is calling on states to provide demographic information on abortion patients, information about the overall number of abortions provided, the method of abortion, the rate of complications and data on the number of previous abortions a woman has had.

According to Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the organization has an initial target list of between 25 and 30 states (Haberkorn, Politico Pro [subscription only], 8/24).