Senators introduce bill requiring states to report abortion figures

shutterstock 198818447 United States Capitol Building - Washington DC. Via Shutterstock

Senators have introduced legislation that would require states to report abortion statistics to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control, including in all cases where babies survive botched abortions.

The Ensuring Accurate and Complete Abortion Data Reporting Act of 2019 would make certain Medicaid family planning funds to states conditional upon their gathering and reporting comprehensive abortion data to the CDC.

"Requiring comprehensive reporting from every state will finally give Americans-regardless of your stance on the issue-an accurate look at abortion trends in our country," stated Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who introduced the legislation last week with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

Currently, state reporting on abortions is voluntary. Currently, the CDC relies on data that has significant gaps, as three states-California, Maryland, and New Hampshire which together represent around 15% of the U.S. population-do not report abortion data, the office of Sen. Cotton said.

Cosponsors of the Senate bill include Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), and Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

The pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) has also pointed out that incomplete abortion data makes it harder to chart abortion trends in the U.S. with any certainty.

The CDC's national reporting surveillance system "lags two years behind other vital statistics systems, namely birth and death data," CLI said in a statement, "and misses more than a fifth of all abortions performed in the U.S." The three states that do not report abortions account for around 20% of abortions in the U.S., according to CLI estimates.

The Senate bill would also require states to report instances of unborn children surviving abortion attempts.

"The American people deserve to know how many babies are born alive during abortion attempts in our country," Cotton stated. "This is life or death information, yet most states don't collect it."

Earlier this year, following the introduction of a controversial Virginia state bill that would have allowed abortions when a woman was in active labor, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said that, if a baby survived an abortion attempt, under the legislation it would be made "comfortable" and the doctors and mother would discuss what to do-rather than automatically care for the baby.

Members in the House and Senate introduced the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act that would mandate that any baby surviving a botched abortion would receive the same standard of care as would be given to "any other child born alive at the same gestational age."

CLI has reported that, according to one CDC health policy data request, 143 babies survived abortion attempts nationwide between 2003 and 2014, but the CDC added that the number may be an underestimate. Better state reporting could help increase the certainty of how many children survive botched abortion attempts.

A companion bill to the Senate bill, H.R. 3580, was introduced in the House by Reps. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) and Gary Palmer (R-Ala.).

The bill introduction comes after Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) introduced legislation last week, S.2950, the Dignity for Aborted Children Act, to require the respectful treatment of the remains of abortion victims by abortion providers.

That legislation was introduced after the remains of more than 2,200 unborn babies wee found in the residence of deceased South Bend, Indiana abortionist Ulrich Klopfer.

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