Michael J. New on We Need Stronger Abortion Reporting Requirements

A man stands during an anti-Planned Parenthood vigil outside the Planned Parenthood – Margaret Sanger Health Center in Manhattan, New York, U.S., on Feb. 11, 2017. | (PHOTO: REUTERS/ANDREW KELLY)

Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Joni Ernst of Iowa recently introduced legislation that would strengthen abortion reporting requirements in the United States. The Ensuring Accurate and Complete Abortion Data Reporting Act of 2019 would specifically require states to publicly report cases where infants were born alive during failed abortions.

The bill would also require states to release accurate and timely abortion data in order to receive certain federal Medicaid family planning funding. This legislation has been cosponsored by seven other Republican U.S. senators. Additionally, companion legislation in the U.S. House has been introduced by Republican Reps. Gary Palmer of Alabama and Ralph Norman of South Carolina

Improved regulation of abortion has recently become a very salient policy issue for several reasons. In January, New York passed legislation that effectively legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. The same month, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam indicated that proposed legislation in Virginia would allow doctors to terminate the lives of infants born after botched abortion procedures. In response to this, legislation was introduced in the U.S. House that would provide legal protection to infants born after failed abortions.

While this bill enjoys strong support from House Republicans, Democratic leadership has refused to allow a floor vote on this bill. Finally, the discovery of thousands of aborted children in the home of deceased South Bend, Indiana, abortion doctor Ulrich Klopfer both outraged and disgusted countless Americans.

The provisions requiring data collection on abortion survivors are receiving the most attention. However, the provisions strengthening federal abortion reporting requirements are also important. Federal reporting laws on abortion are weak. The Centers for Disease Control collect aggregate abortion data from state health departments, but compliance on the part of the states is voluntary. Neither California nor New Hampshire has reported abortion data to the CDC since 1997. Maryland has not reported abortion data to the CDC since 2006. While some states provide data about the demographics of the women who obtain abortions, other states report little information besides the total number of abortions performed. Additionally, the CDC‘s reporting is slow. The most recent year for which the CDC has released abortion data is 2015. In contrast, the CDC has already released 2017 data on infant mortality and dental visits among senior citizens.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael J. News