March 21, 2012 — The Tennessee House is considering a bill (HB 3808) that would require the state health department to post the names of abortion providers and information about their patients on a public website, the Los Angeles Times' "Nation Now" reports. Opponents of the measure are concerned it could potentially lead to the identification of individual patients (Fausset, "Nation Now," Los Angeles Times, 3/19).
State Rep. Matthew Hill's (R) Life Defense Act of 2012 would require the state Department of Health to post women's demographic information, such as their county, age, race, marital status and number of prior pregnancies.
The Tennessee Medical Association and Planned Parenthood said women and doctors could be vulnerable to attacks if they are identified.
"We live in an environment where there is a lot of violence against abortion providers, clinics and clinic staff," said Jeff Teague, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle and Eastern Tennessee. "We've had physicians who provide abortion care murdered in the past few years," he added.
A House committee is expected to vote on the bill on Wednesday (Bassett, Huffington Post, 3/19).
Hill said the health department currently collects the data on a form that abortion providers complete. "All we're asking is that the data they already collect be made public," he said (Sisk, The Tennessean, 3/19).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.