Enough About Jobs Already!October 13, 2011 - by Donny Shaw
The House is taking a break from working on jobs, the economy, and other dull stuff like that so they can vote on an important issue that the people actually care about — abortion. The Repubilcan leadership has scheduled a vote this afternoon on the “Protect Life Act,” which would allow hospitals to deny abortion services even if it means the mother will die. Finally!
The House is scheduled to vote this week on a new bill that would allow federally-funded hospitals that oppose abortions to refuse to perform the procedure, even in cases where a woman would die without it.
Under current law, every hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid money is legally required to provide emergency care to any patient in need, regardless of his or her financial situation. If a hospital is unable to provide what the patient needs — including a life-saving abortion — it has to transfer the patient to a hospital that can.
Under H.R. 358, dubbed the “Protect Life Act” and sponsored by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), hospitals that don’t want to provide abortions could refuse to do so, even for a pregnant woman with a life-threatening complication that requires a doctor terminate her pregnancy. This provision would apply to the more than 600 Catholic hospitals governed by the Catholic Health Association, which are regulated by bishops and prohibited from performing abortions.
According to Wikipedia, every year, one in six hospitalized patients in the United States is cared for in a Catholic health care facility. If this bill were to become law and you were to become pregnant, it’d be wise to find out if your local hospital is affiliated with the Catholic Health Association. If it is, you’d probably want to travel to to the nearest non-CHA hospital in the case of an emergency, or else you may end up dying unnecessarily from a pregnancy complication.
UPDATE: The bill was passed, 251-172.