Thursday, February 28, 2013

Free Speech Forum: Is SB60 a step towards a public abortion registry?

Why not publish the names and addresses of Utah women who have had abortions?

Almost two months ago I wrote a mock news article exploring said “what if”. Here it is:

Debate Begins Early Over Bill to Make Names, Addresses of Residents Who Have Had Abortions Public Record 

The names and addresses of more than 200,000 resident women who have had abortions since 1974 in-state, may be made public record under a proposed bill that pits pro-choice practitioners against would be reformers in the aftermath of ideological full disclosure.

The “Ideologue Registry Law” would require public registry, including names and addresses, and stated-reasons of women who have had abortions.

Also included in the bill are provisions to expand the registry to include obese residents, individuals whose household income exceeds $1,000,000 yearly, as well as members of the NAACP and NRA.

This bill comes on the heels of the New York City-area newspaper publishing a gun-owner map identifying the names and addresses of gun permit owners living within their newspapers reach. The purpose of the “Ideologue Registry Law” is to lift uncertainty as to one’s ideology, therefore creating a more responsible dialogue. Unknown however, are structural damages which society may incur. Regardless, the content of the bill has sparked an early debate as to its potential impact.

More as this develops.

In my opinion, an “Ideologue Registry Law” would move our political parties towards Mutually Assured Destruction. It would be the new domestic security dilemma, infringing upon personal data of citizens, trampling their liberty, in an attempt to advance a political ideology. Is it a stretch that such a registry would pit neighbors against neighbors? Structural damages implied may devastate American society.

Recently, the Utah Senate passed an abortion data collection bill (SB60), requiring more data collection about abortions. The bill, according to reporting by Lee Davidson of the Salt Lake Tribune:

“It would require state collection of data on the race or ethnicity of women having abortions, the state of pregnancy when they occur and the stated reason, if any, for choosing the abortion. Its sponsor, Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, said the federal government already requires filling out forms that provide such information — and the Utah Health Department has collected additional data without being required by law. She says she wants to codify current practice, and ensure collection of data continues if federal forms change.”

But wait, there’s more from Mr. Davidson’s excellent article:

“Dayton earlier explored the possibility of running a bill that would ban abortions based on the gender of the fetus — a practice she has said may be happening in some cultures. She decided against introducing that measure, choosing instead to sponsor the data collection bill, which she said could provided needed information in determining whether to pursue the other legislation.”

So much for a Utah Republican Party that values small government and personal liberty.

Surely the Utah State Democrats put up a fight against this bill.

“"I think there are times when people go through some agonizing experiences and to ask them for extra information that might contribute to more agony to this personal decision, I’m not sure I feel comfortable with that," Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, said.”

Ya think? In the face of a super majority, Senators Pat Jones, Luz Robles, and others played the role of doormat.

Where is David Litvack when the Democrats need him the most? At least he knew how to throw a punch.

All Utah Senate Republicans voted for SB60 the big government bill, and the five Utah Senate Democrats voted against it.

SB60 needs an additional vote in the Senate before moving on to the House.

Let’s table the fact that this bill requires more government. Let’s also table the tepid opposition that Utah Senate Democrats offered. Now, let’s return to the “what if” game.

What if the next step is to create a public registry with the information the government collects?

What if publishing such a registry damages community relationships?

What if someone you worship with, who you least expect, is on said registry?

What if SB60 leads to the hypothetical situation I wrote about?

Regardless of political affiliation, now may be a good time to call your State Senator and start asking questions.

Seth Wright lives in Salt Lake City, in the Glendale Area. He is a University of Utah graduate, married father of two boys.

The views and opinions expressed on this blog with the title, Free Speech Forum are solely those of the original author and do not necessarily represent those of Rob Miller, or, staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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