Politics & Current Events

TN to publish names of abortion doctors and potentially patients

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Doctors who perform abortions in Tennessee could see their names listed online, and women who undergo the procedures could be unintentionally identified under a bill pending in the state legislature.

State lawmakers are debating a measure that would require the Department of Health to publish more details about abortions, bringing Tennessee into a roiling, state-by-state battle over how to regulate abortion procedures.

Supporters say the bill, scheduled to come up Wednesday in a state House committee, only requires state health officials to post information online that they already collect. But critics say the measure is intended to intimidate women and doctors involved in abortions, even in emergency situations.

?I think publicizing this information will do nothing but cause serious consequences,? said state Rep. Gary Odom, D-Nashville. ?This is dangerous. This is a dangerous piece of legislation.?

Known as the Life Defense Act of 2012, or House Bill 3808, the measure gives Tennessee lawmakers a rare opportunity to tighten regulations on abortion, which the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in 2000 is a right protected by the state constitution.

That ruling has kept Tennessee lawmakers from considering controversial proposals floated elsewhere in the nation, such as a new law in Virginia going into effect July 1 that will require women to receive an ultrasound before abortions. Similar measures have passed in Oklahoma, North Carolina and Texas, although court challenges to them are pending.

The Life Defense Act contains two parts. The first would require doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital near where they perform abortions, while the second would require the Department of Health to release more information on abortions, including the name of the doctor who performed the procedure and demographics about the women who receive them.

The measure?s sponsor, Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, said at an initial hearing on the bill earlier this month that the reporting requirement writes into law a form that the Department of Health already asks providers to fill out whenever they perform an abortion.

?The Department of Health already collects all of the data, but they don?t publish it,? he said. ?All we?re asking is that the data they already collect be made public.?

Hill said the bill was suggested by Tennessee Right to Life, an anti-abortion group. Brian Harris, the group?s president, said the bill would give people better information about abortion in Tennessee.

?I think it?s fair for folks on both sides to see how prevalent abortion is in our counties and in our communities,? he said.

Concerns cited

The Tennessee Medical Association and Planned Parenthood, meanwhile, have expressed several concerns about the bill.

They say the reports required by the measure could be used to identify women who have abortions.

The bill would require the publication of data ? including the age, race, education and number of children ? of women who receive abortions. The Department of Health reports such information, but it aggregates the data by region, making it impossible for others to figure out who underwent an abortion procedure.

The Life Defense Act attempts to protect patient privacy by requiring state health officials to keep the names of those who receive abortions private.

But the bill also requires the Department of Health to release patient data broken down by county. Critics say that could reveal the identities of some women who receive abortions, particularly in small, rural communities.

?We have many small counties in the state,? Odom said. ?There?s going to be circumstances where that woman?s going to be identified in that county.?

The bill also could endanger doctors who perform abortions, opponents say. For the first time, state health officials would have to gather the names of doctors who perform abortion procedures. That information could be used by abortion opponents to target those doctors, foes of the bill say.

Abortion specialists are not the only doctors who would have to submit such information. Opponents say other practitioners, such as obstetricians who perform abortion procedures during emergencies or miscarriages, would also have to report their involvement.

?In an environment where doctors are victims of violence ? and we?ve had physicians who provide abortion care murdered in the past few years ? I think this is an attempt to intimidate and allow for providers to be terrorized,? said Jeff Teague, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee.

But Harris said the bill would not make the reporting requirements for abortion any more extensive than for other medical procedures.

?Abortion should not be treated any different than any other health practice in the state,? he said. ?That?s all we?re asking for.?

Debate postponed

The bill cleared a House subcommittee March 6 by an 8-5 vote along party lines. But Hill put off debate in the House Health and Human Resources Committee last week.

Hill said he plans to bring the bill up on Wednesday. He also said he plans to address opponents? concerns at that meeting, but he declined to comment further, saying potential changes are still being worked out.

Greg Zelizer, director of government affairs for the Tennessee Medical Association, expressed confidence that the changes would head off some of the opponents? fears.

?I?ve talked to Matthew, and he understands the difficulty,? Zelizer said last week. ?In no way does he or those who brought this legislation want harm to come to anybody.?

Re: TN to publish names of abortion doctors and potentially patients

  • I am sure that the identification of the women would be far, far from "unintentional". I for one am happy that the far right is making its real views about women known to everyone.
  • I don't understand how women's names could be "inadvertently" released by the data collection they are outlining. So, for instance, in a small county, they report 2 abortions. How would that identify particular women?
  • image 3.27.04_Helper:

     

    ?Abortion should not be treated any different than any other health practice in the state,? he said. ?That?s all we?re asking for.?

    If they want information on numbers of abortions by race, education level, etc., then Guttmacher already has that info.  I'm sure there are also TN-specific stats.  You can see prevalence without seeing aggregate published identifying information.  There's a reason they don't publish that kind of shits already: HIPAA.

    And if you really want abortion to be treated the same as any other health practice, then you'll stop putting all kinds of fuckings additional regulations (ultrasounds) and hoops (waiting periods) on it.

    And really?  Really?  Do they typically publish the addresses of doctors who perform appendectomies or heart surgeons or psychiatrists?  Is that how all other health practice really works?

     

     

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  • image EliseB0323:
    I don't understand how women's names could be "inadvertently" released by the data collection they are outlining. So, for instance, in a small county, they report 2 abortions. How would that identify particular women?

    the composite will be more specific.  For example-- 

    race: black, number of kids: 3, age: 28, education: 4-year college, county: Smith, marital status: divorced, etc.  It starts to paint a portrait of the patient.

     

     

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  • Oh good, a new form of slut shaming.

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  • But Harris said the bill would not make the reporting requirements for abortion any more extensive than for other medical procedures.

    ?Abortion should not be treated any different than any other health practice in the state,? he said. ?That?s all we?re asking for.?

     

    Bullsh!t. If they wanted to treat it like any other health practice, they wouldn't be asking for waiting periods, forced ultrasounds, "educational" materials full of outright lies, etc. You can't have it both ways - either it's just like any other procedure or it's not. Do they also have this detailed reporting for every man that gets a vasectomy or asks his doctor for boner pills?

  • image c_joy:

    But Harris said the bill would not make the reporting requirements for abortion any more extensive than for other medical procedures.

    ?Abortion should not be treated any different than any other health practice in the state,? he said. ?That?s all we?re asking for.?

     

    Bullsh!t. If they wanted to treat it like any other health practice, they wouldn't be asking for waiting periods, forced ultrasounds, "educational" materials full of outright lies, etc. You can't have it both ways - either it's just like any other procedure or it's not. Do they also have this detailed reporting for every man that gets a vasectomy or asks his doctor for boner pills?

    Yes

    One of the things that disgusts me most about all of the current bills and the renewed abortion banning fervor is their attempt to disguise them as supporting women's rights.

    Also, up until a few months ago I considered myself pro-life. After all the shits pro lifers are doing, I'm pretty sure I'm not one of them.

  • image Heather R:

    image EliseB0323:
    I don't understand how women's names could be "inadvertently" released by the data collection they are outlining. So, for instance, in a small county, they report 2 abortions. How would that identify particular women?

    the composite will be more specific.  For example-- 

    race: black, number of kids: 3, age: 28, education: 4-year college, county: Smith, marital status: divorced, etc.  It starts to paint a portrait of the patient.

     

     

    This. I work with health data and theie are rules as to what the lower treshold of data is thst you can report. For a lot of data, it's anyhig 5. Nobody's health data should be made public, and those who report health data take great pains to make sure it doesn't happen.
  • image EliseB0323:
    I don't understand how women's names could be "inadvertently" released by the data collection they are outlining. So, for instance, in a small county, they report 2 abortions. How would that identify particular women?

    I'm a white woman living in a rural county who has a PhD. When combined with my age, marital status, and number of children, anyone who knows me who reads that report would know it was me. I'm the only one here, I'm certain, who falls within those exact demographics. My colleague who is 40 and a Pacific Islander with no children and a PhD could likely be identified even if the data came out at the state level.

  • image 5thOfJuly:

    image EliseB0323:
    I don't understand how women's names could be "inadvertently" released by the data collection they are outlining. So, for instance, in a small county, they report 2 abortions. How would that identify particular women?

    I'm a white woman living in a rural county who has a PhD. When combined with my age, marital status, and number of children, anyone who knows me who reads that report would know it was me. I'm the only one here, I'm certain, who falls within those exact demographics. My colleague who is 40 and a Pacific Islander with no children and a PhD could likely be identified even if the data came out at the state level.

    that's why I don't even see how it's legal. if you can reasonably deduce who it is from those stats (even without a name), that's PHI and violates HIPAA, right??

  • I have decided I am no longer shocked or appalled by any of this.  In fact I have decided to put a placard in my car that makes me easily identified and copies of my medical records to be handed out on demand.  I mean it's only a matter of time before there are check points when I travel from one town to the other.

    Or, maybe a tattoo on my back with a number corresponding to my federally filled medical records...OR I KNOW a bar code tattoo and they can just scan and instantly pull them up. 

    image
  • I'm going to screen print t-shirts with my name and date of birth and the total number of sexual partners I've had in my life.
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  • image lyssbobiss:
    I'm going to screen print t-shirts with my name and date of birth and the total number of sexual partners I've had in my life.

    if you want welfare, you'll probably have to.

     

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  • 1. How is this not a violation of HIPPA?

    2. The legal term for abortion is a D&C, correct?  A D&C can be performed even when a woman is not having an abortion.  My mother had to have a D&C two years ago at age 60 when she was having some fibroid/irregular bleeding/bleeding wouldn't stop issue related to menopause.  So does that mean every single woman undergoing a D&C - including those who have to have one for a miscarriage - gets placed on this list?

    I never would have believed it was possible to get more disgusted over this.   

    image
  • image EmiIyJ:

    1. How is this not a violation of HIPPA?

    2. The legal term for abortion is a D&C, correct?  A D&C can be performed even when a woman is not having an abortion.  My mother had to have a D&C two years ago at age 60 when she was having some fibroid/irregular bleeding/bleeding wouldn't stop issue related to menopause.  So does that mean every single woman undergoing a D&C - including those who have to have one for a miscarriage - gets placed on this list?

    I never would have believed it was possible to get more disgusted over this.   

    I *think* there are different classifications of D&C. So your records can say D&C: medically indicated fibroid tumors. D&C: spontaneous abortion. But don't quote me on this. Someone else (Sibil?) probably knows better.

    But I'm not denying that it's an inadvertant HIPAA violation or that it's just abhorent in general.

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  • image **sunny**:
    image 5thOfJuly:

    image EliseB0323:
    I don't understand how women's names could be "inadvertently" released by the data collection they are outlining. So, for instance, in a small county, they report 2 abortions. How would that identify particular women?

    I'm a white woman living in a rural county who has a PhD. When combined with my age, marital status, and number of children, anyone who knows me who reads that report would know it was me. I'm the only one here, I'm certain, who falls within those exact demographics. My colleague who is 40 and a Pacific Islander with no children and a PhD could likely be identified even if the data came out at the state level.

    that's why I don't even see how it's legal. if you can reasonably deduce who it is from those stats (even without a name), that's PHI and violates HIPAA, right??

    These limp d!cks do not care if their laws violate federal law or the constitution.  They just don't.  The law would stand until someone sues and it works it way up through the court system and is ultimately struck down.  But that could take years, and think of how many sluts they can shame in the meantime!  
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  • My head is going to implode. ::runs very fast from thread::
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    You know this is a list of targets by a more deniable name.  They're hoping some crazy is going to print off the list and go around shooting all those doctors.  Come on, what else would it be for.
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