Republicans Say In H.R.358 | Women Must Die Rather Than Receive Abortion

Planned Parenthood facility in Phoenix, Az. Image APRedTracker| Just as Republicans pulled out the “forcible rape” clause in the H.R.358 “Protect Life Act”, a bill designed to amend the 2010 health care reform law and further limit the legal abortion rights of American women, the Republican patriarchy has swung into high gear, putting all their cards on the table with the latest amendment introduced by Republican Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania.

In simple language, Pitts has introduced new language, supported by House Speaker John Boyner that says American hospitals can let a woman die, rather than perform a legal abortion that will save her life. The woman must die, if the hospital chooses not too help her.

This is Vatican policy, too. In May 2010 Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted excommunicated Sister Margaret McBride, senior administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, for allowing an abortion for a 27-year-old mother of four, suffering from a serious medical complication called pulmonary hypertension. The probability was high that the pregnancy would kill her. via AOC

Quotes via TPM

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.