GOP Abortion Bill: Hospitals Could Let Women Die

February 7, 2011

(ChattahBox Political News)—House Republicans are waging an all-out assault against womens’ reproductive rights. In the wake of House Republicans’ odious attempt to re-define rape for purposes of obtaining an abortion, as “forcible rape,” now comes a new horror. A new anti-abortion, forced birth provision would permit hospitals unwilling to preform abortions to kick women to the curb needing the procedure to save their lives. That’s right, if you show up at an emergency room and it’s determined your pregnancy must be terminated to save your life, you would be allowed to die. Welcome to the new Republican controlled U.S. House of Representatives.

The “Protect Life Act,” sponsored by extremist forced birth advocate Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), goes way beyond current law federal under the the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA), which permits hospitals to withhold emergency care they are unable to perform, as long as patients are stabilized and transferred to a facility that can perform the emergency care and will also accept them. Pitts’ bill would allow hospitals to refuse to treat women needing emergency abortions, even if they are near death, without stabilizing their condition and transferring them. In other words, Pitts’ bill is a death warrant for women.

The Washington Posts’ Jonathan Capehart, calls the Pitts bill a “…dastardly threat to women’s right to choose…”

“The overly broad Pitts amendment would void this requirement for hospitals, which would be considered a “health care entity.” Unlike the nebulous “forcible rape,” the key definition here is clear: “an individual physician or other health care professional, a hospital, a provider-sponsored organization, a health maintenance organization, a health insurance plan or any other kind of health care facility, organization, or plan.” So, in contravention of EMTALA, hospitals would be allowed to refuse to provide abortion care or refer the patient to another hospital. Most troubling is that there are no exemptions — not even if the life of the mother is at risk.”

Alexa Kolbi-Molina, an attorney with the ACLU’s reproductive freedom division condemned the Pitts bill for transforming hospitals into right-wing religious organizations that would deny women life-saving medical care. “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,” Kolbi-Molina told Talking Points Memo.

Pitts is unpersuaded, and frankly he’s such a radical anti-abortion advocate that he doesn’t care if women have to die to satisfy his right-wing extremism. He dismissed the criticism of his bill, as liberal “talking points.”

“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,” said a Pitts spokesperson.

This bill is unlikely to make it through the Senate, and even if it managed to pass with the help of anti-abortion Democrats, President Obama would surely veto it. But the Republicans don’t care. Since gaining power after the November elections with the promise of creating jobs, they have done nothing but propose one extremist stunt bill after another to appease their radical tea party base.

Instead of creating jobs House Republicans have waged an assault on the middle class and the rights of women. What an outrage.


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