Dozens of congressional Republicans seek to shine some light on shadowy abortion data.
According to the website Govtrack.us, which specializes in monitoring legislation winding through Congress, 65 GOP House lawmakers have signed onto the “Ensuring Accurate and Complete Abortion Data Reporting Act,” a bill that would require states to provide more detailed reporting on abortions.
Govtrack notes that the bill would “condition federal Medicaid money given to states for family planning services on the state reporting abortion data.” Specifically, the sponsors want states to submit information on 10 data points, including the woman’s age, race, ethnicity, marital status, previous pregnancies if applicable, residence, the fetus’s gestational age, and whether the fetus survived the abortion.
The House bill is sponsored by Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina.
A Senate version, sponsored by Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, has garnered 18 supporters, all Republicans.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention already collects abortion data annually, although doing so is optional. The CDC seeks to have states report the identification of the facility where the abortion was performed, the physician who did it, the woman’s age, race, ethnicity, marital status, and number of previous live births, as well as the baby’s gestational age and which procedure was used to end the pregnancy.
Currently, 46 states and the District of Columbia comply with the CDC’s request.
The issue, the bills’ proponents say, is that the three states that don’t include California, the nation’s most populous state, and presumably the host state for many uncounted abortions. The other two states are Maryland and New Hampshire.
Norman explained in a press release that the data is needed to better attract the effectiveness of family planning programs.
“The true purpose of any family planning program is to promote health, and to help parents manage the number and spacing of their children. Proactively — before pregnancy occurs. If a pregnancy results in an abortion for convenience, it means that legitimate family planning failed in its objective,” he said.
“Since tax dollars are being used for family planning programs, we must be able to measure their effectiveness, but we cannot do that without accurate abortion data from the states.”
Ernst, in her own news release, said, “Every single life is precious. Yet right now, only a handful of states record abortion data in a comprehensive and verifiably accurate way, including tragic cases where babies are born alive during abortions.”
“This straightforward effort will require states to report abortion data accurately and completely, ensuring that no life is ever ignored, hidden, or forgotten,” she added.
The bills have little chance of passing in the Democratic-controlled Congress.
But the good news is that the number of backers for each bill is up from 2019, the last time they were introduced by Norman and Ernst, respectively.
The previous House measure had 56 co-sponsors, while the Senate one had 14.
In the House, GOP lawmakers from Florida who are on board include Reps. Scott Franklin, Matt Gaetz, John Rutherford and Michael Waltz. Florida Sen. Rick Scott has co-sponsored Ernst’s bill.
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