It seems that the anti-choice ideology spouted on the Republican presidential campaign trail has inspired lawmakers back on Capitol Hill, where the House will take up H.R. 358, otherwise known as the Protect Life Act, this Friday.
This newest effort to restrict women’s reproductive freedom would ban federal funding from going towards any health plan that covers abortion and prohibit the government from withholding funds from anti-choice health organizations. The bill would also grant federally funded hospitals the freedom to turn away a woman seeking an abortion for any reason, including to save her life.
…Let’s repeat that. The Protect Life Act aims to protect life by denying women access to a potentially lifesaving medical procedure.
We don’t get it, either.
One person who doesn’t seem to have a problem with this logic, however, is Rep. Joe Pitts (PA), the author of the act. A spokesperson for Pitts defended the bill to reporters when it was introduced in February, claiming that it “is only preserving the same rights that medical professionals have had for decades.”
But much like the title of the act itself, this claim is false. Under current law, all hospitals that receive Medicare or Medicaid funds are required to provide lifesaving emergency care to anyone who walks through their doors – and that includes patients who require emergency abortions. If a hospital doesn’t have the facilities to do so, it has to transfer that patient to a provider that does. Under Pitts’ proposed bill, both the emergency treatment and transfer requirements would be lifted, leaving hospitals free to refuse abortion care - even as they receive funds from a government that has deemed the procedure to be fully legal.
Planned Parenthood calls on lawmakers to speak out against H.R. 358 to protect the lives of women and their rights to reproductive health care. To learn more about abortion care offered in your community, click here.