New GOP Protect Life Act: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery

Postby RaharuAharu » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:14 am

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/new-gop-law-would-allow-hospitals-to-let-women-die-instead-of-having-an-abortion.php#disqus_thread


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New GOP Bill Would Allow Hospitals To Let Women Die Instead Of Having An Abortion


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.

P.S. Here is a little more on how the GOP wanted to redefine Rape. %< >.<
http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/01/republican-plan-redefine-rape-abortion


P.P.S. This would appear to be my 1000th Post. Yay me.
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Re: New GOP Protect Life Act: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery

Postby RaharuAharu » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:19 am

It seems to me like they're less pro-baby than anti-woman.
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Re: New GOP Protect Life Act: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery

Postby Coda » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:25 am

I need to point out that this article was clearly written in such a way to evoke emotion, and it's working, as it has set you off against it just because it's a Republican bill.

The fact is, this is actually a bill ABOUT CHOICE.

This is saying that a hospital CANNOT FORCE a woman to have an abortion, even if it would save her life. This is saying that if a woman REFUSES to have an abortion, the hospital is required by force of law to honor that decision.

This is not saying that the HOSPITAL has the ability to make that choice: a hospital cannot elect to let a woman die instead of performing an abortion. The decision is completely in the hands of the patient.

Edit: The only thing here that might be at all morally-squeamish is the fact that hospitals can elect to transfer the patient to another facility rather than perform an abortion. But if you see this as giving hospitals the right to exercise the religious rights of its staff, this is the only satisfying result you can make that doesn't involve placing laws on the exercise of religion in violation of the Constitution.
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Re: New GOP Protect Life Act: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:43 am

Coda wrote:The only thing here that might be at all morally-squeamish is the fact that hospitals can elect to transfer the patient to another facility rather than perform an abortion. But if you see this as giving hospitals the right to exercise the religious rights of its staff, this is the only satisfying result you can make that doesn't involve placing laws on the exercise of religion in violation of the Constitution.


This can easily, and does (in cases of impoverished people without health insurance) result in a constant process of moving a patient from hospital to hospital until one finally gives in and takes the patient, or the patient dies or just... leaves to whatever end awaits them (just so long as it is not on site anymore). This is 'Patient Hot Potato', and it happens all the time.

In the case that a woman should need, medically, an abortion to save her life, the time until catastrophe is measured in hours at best, sometimes even in minutes, so playing hot potato with this situation is a de-facto death sentence. The kind of illnesses that demand abortion for survival are not something that can wait.

People in life-saving, vital occupations, such as medicine, air control, search and rescue, fire fighting and the like CANNOT be permitted to shirk their function for reasons of mythology and superstition. Peoples lives are literally on the line, we all depend on and trust that these services, and the people in these services, will put our well being before all else... that is why they are emergency services.

Religion CANNOT be allowed to influence matters of life and death, where minutes count and hours kill.

ANY provision that attempts to weasel such excuse for duty and professionalism for the sake of petty religious or personal distaste is abhorrent and downright evil. If a person cannot fulfill a lifesaving duty for any religious or personal reason, THEY SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO PRACTICE. Such people should be screened out, not given latitude to betray the trust of the public.
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Re: New GOP Protect Life Act: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery

Postby Coda » Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:20 pm

I never said it was a perfect solution. I simply said it's apparently the solution that can comply with the rights of everyone involved. It would be unethical and wrong to deny a perfectly competent physician from caring for the sick just because he refuses to perform a single type of operation. Health care providers are backed up enough as it is -- do you WANT to make emergency room waiting lines EVEN LONGER by demanding that surgeons cease their practice unless they give up their constitutional rights? Patient hot potato sucks, yes, but when you sacrifice the needs of the many to provide for the needs of the few, you have failed to perform ethically.

That said, if we're talking about a patient whose life expectancy is on the order of hours or minutes, it WOULD be unethical for the surgeon to refuse to heal -- this is a different matter entirely. Refusing to perform elective abortions is one thing; refusing to provide emergency life-saving treatment is another. It's not even the same consideration. Allowing a facility that is equipped to perform emergency services to choose not to provide them IS despicable. But it does need to be an emergency, because forcing someone to perform an act they believe is immoral when there is time to satisfy all parties is itself immoral.
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