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Women, Watch Your Back: Anti-Choicers Are Gambling With Your Life

In a medical emergency, the last thing we should be worried about is whether a  hospital is going to put ideology ahead of the care we need to protect our  lives and health. But if anti-choice lawmakers get their way, women and their loved ones will have to watch their backs.

Yesterday the House passed an unprecedented bill that would allow hospitals to let women die at their doorsteps. It sounds almost unbelievable — but utter disregard for the well-being of women who need abortion care has tragically reached new levels in the House.

The  bill, the so-called “Protect Life Act” does anything but.  Indeed, it gambles with women’s lives.  It could allow hospitals to ignore the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) which requires that  patients in medical emergencies receive appropriate medical treatment, including abortion care if that’s what’s medically indicated.

The  bill’s proponents will first tell you that this is necessary to protect  religiously affiliated hospitals, and then claim that there’s no such thing as  emergency abortion care (which begs the question of why they’re so intent on  overriding it).  They’re wrong on both fronts.

First,  the denial of appropriate medical care to a woman suffering from emergency pregnancy complications can be devastating.   The following story recorded in the American  Journal of Public Health is just one example:

A woman with a condition that  prevented her blood from clotting was in the process of miscarrying at a  Catholic-owned hospital.  According to  her doctor, she was dying before his eyes, her eyes filling with blood.  But even though her life was in danger, and  the fetus had no chance of survival, the hospital wouldn’t let the doctor treat  her by terminating the pregnancy until the fetal heartbeat ceased of its own  accord.  She ended up in the I.C.U.

Second,  even the Catholic Health Association, the leadership organization for Catholic  hospitals — hardly an anti-religious or pro-choice lobby — has told Congress  that they don’t “believe that there is a need for the [refusal] section to  apply to EMTALA.” The very  institutions on whose behalf this heinous provision has been proposed are  saying “don’t do this.” But so  far, the bill’s sponsors remain unmoved.

Every representative who voted for this bill should hear from you and be made to think about the woman, mid-miscarriage, bleeding and scared out of her  wits, who rushes to the nearest hospital only to be told by her doctor that he’s  not allowed to treat her.  Think about  that woman, and then tell us — what  are you going to do?


By: Sarah Lipton-Lubet, Policy Counsel, ACLU Legislative Office, Published in RH Reality Check, October 14, 2011

October 14, 2011 Posted by | Affordable Care Act, Anti-Choice, Congress, Conservatives, Democracy, Equal Rights, GOP, Government, Health Care, Ideologues, Politics, Pro-Choice, Republicans, Right Wing, Women | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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