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Is it reckless to publicize the names of doctors who perform abortions?
Anti-abortion legislators in Tennessee push a bill that critics say will only serve to single out doctors and women for extremist attacks
 
A clinical assistant performs an ultrasound sonogram on an abortion patient: In Tennessee, anti-abortion lawmakers are pushing a new bill that would release the names of doctors who perform abortions.
A clinical assistant performs an ultrasound sonogram on an abortion patient: In Tennessee, anti-abortion lawmakers are pushing a new bill that would release the names of doctors who perform abortions.
Erich Schlegel/Corbis

In the latest attempt by lawmakers to curb abortions, the Republican-controlled Tennessee Legislature is considering a bill that would require the state to publish the names of doctors who perform abortions, along with demographic statistics that critics say could "out" some patients and potentially subject doctors and women to intimidation or even violent attacks. The bill's sponsor says he only wants to use information the state already collects to give the public a better sense of how prevalent abortions are. Is this about informing the public, or painting a bulls eye on abortion providers?

This reckless bill would put lives in danger: Tennessee lawmakers are going "out of their way to put a target on a law-abiding person's back," says The Tennessean in an editorial. Anti-abortion extremists have killed doctors in the past — Dr. George Tiller of Kansas in 2009; Dr. John Bayard Britton and his bodyguard in Florida in 1994; and Dr. David Gunn of Alabama in 1993, "to name a few." The only reason for this bill is to remind abortion providers that if they keep it up, they could be next.
"Bill puts doctors, women in danger"

The real danger here is to privacy: "In general, I'm highly in favor of state-level measures to deter abortion up to and even including personhood amendments," says Tina Korbe at Hot Air. But "to publish the details of a medical procedure in this way sets a dangerous precedent." I'm not saying that the right to privacy "gives women the right to kill their unborn children," but if we say it's fine to toss doctor-client privilege out the window in this case, will any of our medical records be safe?
"Tennessee bill would direct state Health Department to post a report of every abortion"

Get ready for the backlash: Fortunately, this bill will backfire, says Erin Gloria Ryan at Jezebel. It is so "wacky" and spiteful that "it's destined to be wildly unpopular and embarrassing to the state of Tennessee" and to its sponsor, Republican Matthew Hill. "And if it follows the arc of other, similarly stupid [bills] proposed state legislature elsewhere," it will produce such an outcry that lawmakers will be forced to remove its "fangs." In the end, all Hill is proving is that the GOP really is at war with women.
"Law that gives away identities of women having abortions couldn't possibly backfire"

 

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