A new law in Idaho requires state health officials to collect data on how many abortions are performed in the state, as well as personal information and medical complications related to the procedures.

The Associated Press says the law requires abortion providers to report how many times their patients have terminated a pregnancy in the past, and other personal information such as the patient's age, race, how many children she has and whether any of their children have died.

Complications must also be included in the report including infections, blood clots and hemorrhaging. Depression, anxiety and sleeping disorders must also be reported. The information obtained would be shared with the public and state lawmakers, but the patient's identities would not be revealed.

Some fear that this and other laws being enacted in other states considered to be pro-life could lead to restrictions on abortions in the future.

Mississippi’s governor recently signed into law the most restrictive abortion measure enacted in the U.S., which bans any type of procedure once pregnancies reach 15 weeks, Reuters reported.

But on Tuesday, a federal judge blocked the law from taking effect for 10 days, pending legal arguments over whether the injunction should remain in effect while the overall case remains under judicial review, the report said.

While abortion is permitted under current U.S. law, the nation remains split on the issue and whether abortion on demand at any time during a pregnancy is a good idea.

While I personally do not support abortion in most cases, I see no harm in collecting data, as Idaho is doing. Statistics can be helpful in determining what, if any, restrictions should be placed on abortion.

I believe that understanding all aspects of abortion, including the societal costs and health impacts, are important to understand and endorse the Idaho plan, provided the patient's identity is protected in the process.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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