Press release from the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee; April 9, 2012:
The “Obstacles to Obstetricians” bill, up this week, creates a barrier to accessing legal and safe reproductive health services in Tennessee.
Only a very limited number of doctors in Tennessee actually provide abortions, so they often travel outside their home county to deliver care. By requiring physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals—a hurdle not required of doctors performing other surgeries—this bill makes it hard for reproductive doctors to provide services across the state.
The anti-choice intent of this bill is clear from its original wording, which required extensive reporting of information on individual women obtaining abortions and the doctors performing them, requirements that both violated their privacy and could have made them targets for violence.
Though proponents of the bill claimed that such information is already publicly available, this simply isn’t true—the only accessible data describes just the number and location of procedures—very limited records that cannot be used to identify a patient. Though amended, the bill’s original aim to limit reproductive freedom in Tennessee remains.
It’s unfair to place restrictions on doctors providing reproductive healthcare that are not placed on other doctors. This discriminatory treatment is clearly intended to discourage doctors from providing a complete array of reproductive health services.
This bill is one part of an all-out assault on reproductive freedom in Tennessee. Thank you for standing up against government interference in personal, private health care decisions.