They won't save the mother?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-11-2007
They won't save the mother?
Mon, 02-07-2011 - 5:57pm

Gone too far....way too far.

The controversy over "forcible rape" may be over, but now there's a new Republican-sponsored abortion bill in the House that pro-choice folks say may be worse: this time around, the new language would allow hospitals to let a pregnant woman die rather than perform the abortion that would save her life.

The bill, known currently as H.R. 358 or the "Protect Life Act," would amend the 2010 health care reform law that would modify the way Obamacare deals with abortion coverage. Much of its language is modeled on the so-called Stupak Amendment, an anti-abortion provision pro-life Democrats attempted to insert into the reform law during the health care debate last year. But critics say a new language inserted into the bill just this week would go far beyond Stupak, allowing hospitals that receive federal funds but are opposed to abortions to turn away women in need of emergency pregnancy termination to save their lives.

The sponsor of H.R. 358, Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) is a vocal member of the House's anti-abortion wing. A member of the bipartisan Pro-Life Caucus and a co-sponsor of H.R 3 -- the bill that added "forcible rape" to the lexicon this week -- Pitts is no stranger to the abortion debate. But pro-choice advocates say his new law goes farther than any other bill has in encroaching on the rights of women to obtain an abortion when their health is at stake. They say the bill is giant leap away from accepted law, and one they haven't heard many in the pro-life community openly discuss before.

Pitts' response to the complaints from pro-choice groups? Nothing to see here.

"Since the 1970s, existing law affirmed the right to refuse involvement in abortion in all circumstances," a spokesperson for Pitts told TPM.

"The Protect Life Act simply extends these provisions to the new law by inserting a provision that mirrors Hyde-Weldon," the spokesperson added, referring to current federal law banning spending on abortion and allowing anti-abortion doctors to refrain from performing them while still receiving federal funds. "In other words, this bill is only preserving the same rights that medical professionals have had for decades."

A bit of backstory: currently, all hospitals in America that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding are bound by a 1986 law known as EMTALA to provide emergency care to all comers, regardless of their ability to pay or other factors. Hospitals do not have to provide free care to everyone that arrives at their doorstep under EMTALA -- but they do have to stabilize them and provide them with emergency care without factoring in their ability to pay for it or not. If a hospital can't provide the care a patient needs, it is required to transfer that patient to a hospital that can, and the receiving hospital is required to accept that patient.

In the case of an anti-abortion hospital with a patient requiring an emergency abortion, ETMALA would require that hospital to perform it or transfer the patient to someone who can. (The nature of how that procedure works exactly is up in the air, with the ACLU calling on the federal government to state clearly that unwillingness to perform an abortion doesn't qualify as inability under EMTALA. That argument is ongoing, and the government has yet to weigh in.)

Pitts' new bill would free hospitals from any abortion requirement under EMTALA, meaning that medical providers who aren't willing to terminate pregnancies wouldn't have to -- nor would they have to facilitate a transfer.

The hospital could literally do nothing at all, pro-choice critics of Pitts' bill say.

"This is really out there," Donna Crane, policy director at NARAL Pro-Choice America told TPM. "I haven't seen this before."

Crane said she's been a pro-choice advocate "for a long time," yet she's never seen anti-abortion bill as brazenly attacking the health of the mother exemption as Pitts' bill has. NARAL has fired up its lobbying machinery and intends to make the emergency abortion language a key part of its fight against the Pitts bill when it goes before subcommittee in the House next week.

Pitts' office says they're unmoved by NARAL's concerns. They say the goal of their bill is to codify existing legal protections for medical providers who do not want to perform abortions, such as the Weldon Amendment.

"NARAL and other abortion rights groups have vigorously opposed any conscience protection legislation, it is no surprise that they would attack the Protect Life Act with the same old talking points," a Pitts spokesperson said.

To be sure, advocates from the anti-abortion medical community are rallying around the bill. Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association -- which is not always in lockstep with the pro-life community when it comes to the health care reform law -- penned a letter to Pitts last week praising the bill for its "additions to the conscience protections which hospitals and health care providers already have."

But pro-choice advocates say that the new provisions in the Pitts effectively eliminate the right of critically ill women to obtain an abortion to save their lives. That goes beyond the commonly accepted understanding of "conscience protections" for pro-life health providers.

"I think a majority of Americans would agree with us that saving a woman's life should be every hospital's first priority," Alexa Kolbi-Molina, an attorney with the ACLU's reproductive freedom division said. "We all know a woman who has faced a complication in her pregnancy ... we would hope that when that woman goes to a hospital she would be protected and get the care that she needs."

"I think a majority of Americans would believe that a hospital should not be imposing their religious beliefs when providing care, especially life-saving care," she added.



iVillage Member
Registered: 11-04-2010
Mon, 02-07-2011 - 6:19pm
The religious right is also meddling with birth control.

I get so sick of these sanctimonious jerks.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-04-2010
Mon, 02-07-2011 - 6:47pm
On the one hand, they are doing everything they can to outlaw or limit abortions while at the same time trying to take away easy access to birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-22-2009
Mon, 02-07-2011 - 7:24pm

I always wonder how some republicans are and may be extreme pro-war, pro-death penalty, pro 2nd amendment rights, yet draw their moral line at abortion?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2007
Tue, 02-08-2011 - 12:59pm

Just heard that Ohio is trying to pass a "Heart beat Law".

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-10-2010
Tue, 02-08-2011 - 1:40pm
I would be interested to know the specifics on this. Does that mean heart beat via ultra-sound, because that can be detected/seen VERY early on.

I think they need to just let it alone.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001
Tue, 02-08-2011 - 1:49pm

UGH! :smileymad: I just don't get it. They want to take us all back to the 1300s, when women were chattel, whose lives were to only be controlled by men. To be used to reproduce or serve men sexually and in all other ways. Taking away control of one's own reproduction, making abortion impossible as well as birth control, has that underlying goal. And women are as brainwashed in serving this patriarchal movement, as many men. This whole issue is about controlling women, and if they could, likely they would not allow us higher education, voting, or the ability to work outside the home. By forcing us to have children by rape or forcing us to have unprotected sex, they hope to limit our lives and our choices. That's what it's about. And, frankly, some religion interpretations seek to do this as well, and that is why religion is often used in the arguments to remove women's reproductive rights and access to what they need to choose when they choose to have children.

It occurs to me that these attempts at controlling women's reproductive options and rights has something to do with some hospitals losing their religious status, because they made choices to save a woman's life... The idea is now we won't just have certain religion controlled hospitals denying women reproductive options and rights, (which means women can choose and have the option to go to other hospitals if they are not of that religion...), but we'll just have *all* hospitals do the same... And *all* pharmacies! That'll teach all those uppity women! UGH!i-m-sick-of-this.gif




iVillage Member
Registered: 11-04-2010
Tue, 02-08-2011 - 4:15pm
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2007
Tue, 02-08-2011 - 7:32pm

Thank you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2000
Wed, 02-09-2011 - 11:50am

Response should be to "all", but I dont think its an option anymore...

Even *if* such laws as the heartbeat thing passes, I would have to say "not to worry". There will always be

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-10-2010
Wed, 02-09-2011 - 12:17pm
But why force women who are victims of rape to go to back-alley, illegal doctors?!