Anti-Abortion Organizations Public Records Requests Project
The goal of this project is to look at how abortion opponents and anti-abortion organizations are using public records. We wanted to learn why they were filing the requests, what they were requesting, and if they were actually able to get the records or if agencies denied their requests — for privacy or other reasons.
In early June, the Huffington Post published an article where a registered nurse who works for the anti-abortion organization Pro-Life Action League was attempting to use an open records law in Pennsylvania to uncover the name and license number of every physician, administrator, medical director, owner, trustee and board member affiliated with abortion clinics in the state.
The article stated how the nurse said sought the information to protect women from subpar medical care. Supporters of abortion rights say the true intention of these requests is to bully and scare providers out of practice, with the goal of decreasing and ending abortion access.
This is not a new technique. ProPublica did an investigation in 2015 that looked at why abortion opponents file for these requests and how abortion opponents and supporters were feuding in court over how much information should be disclosed about women undergoing abortions.
We decided to send public record requests to the Department of Health agencies throughout the United States asking for the requests that these organizations have filed since 2015. You can find and follow those requests via this project page.