Wednesday, October 12, 2011

House Republicans want to allow hospitals to let women die (rather than perform life-saving abortions)

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Abortion: My Mind, My Body, My Choice

Today in blindly ideological religious-Right posturing against women’s reproductive rights [original emphasis]:

In their latest assault on women’s health, this week House Republicans will take up HR 358, the ironically titled “Protect Life Act.” Opponents have rechristened the measure the “Let Women Die” bill because it would allow hospitals that receive federal funds to turn away a woman seeking an abortion in all circumstances, even if an abortion is necessary to save her life:

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.

Because if there’s one thing the long history of religious medical oversight has taught us, it’s that placing self-righteous pious busybodies in charge of sensitive healthcare matters instead of actual medical professionals cannot possibly lead to any conceivable problems down the road. After all, preserving life is these people’s utmost priority, right?

Except that, as we’ve seen far too many times to count, it’s pre-natal life that they care about. As long as that proto-human is still developing, to hell with the woman who actually has to endure the parasitic drain on her body and mind for three quarters of a year. And their cheerfully laissez-faire attitude towards children out of the womb is just as revealing. (I would love to see statistics on how many anti-abortionists are actually seeking to adopt children from unwanted pregnancies. I would expect the ratio of those who are versus those who aren’t to be disproportionately skewed towards the latter.)

Even more aggravating about these endless attempts to control what women can or cannot do with their own bodies is their baseless legal justification. The fact is that taxpayer money is already prohibited from being used on abortions in any and all forms and has been for 35 years since the passage of the Hyde Amendment in 1976. It’s a moot point, and any further pontification about preventing the U.S. government from taking part in terminating pregnancies is utterly discredited. It’s just endlessly telling that Right-wing lawmakers continue to carp about the issue despite this. They really couldn’t make their thinly veiled and religiously inspired hatred of women’s right to choose any more blatant.

Edit: 10/13/11 3:28 AM – Fixed a typo.