2.07.2011

republicans to women: we'd rather see you and your fetus dead than allow an abortion

I generally don't use this blog to chronicle the hundreds of anti-choice bills proposed in the US every year; I leave that to other bloggers more focused on that specific angle. But every so often, something comes along that is just too perfect in how clearly it exposes the true colours of that hateful movement.

From TPM:
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.

. . .

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.

I love when the movement calling itself "pro-life" - the use of that word without quotes being the most successful propaganda campaign of our time - proposes something that very clearly contributes to death. I'm not being sarcastic: I love it.

We know these woman-haters don't give a crap about actual living babies and children. But some of us also know they don't give a crap about fetuses either. Their movement is all about hating women: hating feminism, hating modern life, hating western women's ability to control their own lives, to have sex without consequence, formerly only the province of men. And every so often, they show their hand. As James said when he sent me this story (from AMERICAblog via HuffPost Hill): "Because having both mother and fetus die is so much better than the fetus alone." I'll leave you to tease out the layers of irony for yourself.

12 comments:

James said...

I don't remember if the case got mentioned here, but recently the Catholic Church revoked its association with a US hospital after the hospital performed an abortion to save the mother.

A Church spokesman said that you cannot morally perform an evil (performing the abortion) to bring about a good (saving the mother).

However, you apparently can perform an evil (letting both die) to bring about "good" (avoiding an abortion).


Psychological studies of human morality have found that people tend to make a significant distinction between the morality of omission and commission -- but this is taking that idea to pathological extremes.

laura k said...

Yes, I did write about that.

Psychological studies of human morality have found that people tend to make a significant distinction between the morality of omission and commission -- but this is taking that idea to pathological extremes.

That is a good point. There's also the issue of personal morality. When I did public speaking about sexual assault, I knew a woman - a sister "panel speaker" - who was a nun and who had been raped. She declined taking emergency contraception (so-called Plan B) and decided that if she were to become pregnant, she would carry to term and surrender the baby to adoption. She felt that using contraception or terminating a pregnancy would make the horrible experience so much worse for her - another violation, this one of her core values, her personal morality.

However... she strongly supported every woman's right to choose what to do under those circumstances and supported laws mandating that rape victims be offered EC (which most states still do not have), and abortion access for all women.

laura k said...

I just looked for that post on the Arizona hospital James mentioned. Unfortunately, the nuns who made the decision were the ones hurt the most. They were excommunicated. Details here.

The reporting on that story was particularly awful. The woman was repeatedly referred to as "the mother".

laura k said...

There's also the issue of personal morality.

I didn't finish that thought. I meant personal morality as opposed to imposing your personal morality on others.

James said...

Unfortunately, the nuns who made the decision were the ones hurt the most. They were excommunicated.

Excommunicable offenses in the Catholic Church:

- Saving a pregnant woman's life at the cost of her fetus
- Telling police that a priest has been raping children

I didn't finish that thought. I meant personal morality as opposed to imposing your personal morality on others.

I figured that was what you meant.

Standard GOP irony, that the "Party of Personal Responsibility" does not believe in personal morality.

laura k said...

Standard GOP irony, that the "Party of Personal Responsibility" does not believe in personal morality.

And standard GOP hypocrisy, the party of "less government" wants government involved in the most intimate and personal decisions of our lives.

laura k said...

Excommunicable offenses in the Catholic Church:

- Saving a pregnant woman's life at the cost of her fetus
- Telling police that a priest has been raping children


FUBAR

allan said...

And standard GOP hypocrisy, the party of "less government" ...

The truth is that the GOP expands and bloats government and spends $$$ like crazy* and runs up trillions in debt. Yet they make people think the exact opposite is true.

(* But they spend it on bombs and hand out sacks of it to their friends, which is clearly more responsible than something useless like building houses so everyone can live indoors, and maybe be guaranteed a couple of meals a day.)

Like if a company president announced that he wanted to employ more people than any other company in Canada -- and then eliminated 95% of his jobs, so he had maybe 20 employees. And while this was no secret, he kept saying that his company was the top employer in Canada -- and everyone went on believing him.

laura k said...

Like if a company president announced that he wanted to employ more people than any other company in Canada -- and then eliminated 95% of his jobs, so he had maybe 20 employees. And while this was no secret, he kept saying that his company was the top employer in Canada -- and everyone went on believing him.

And thus the government benefits from an ignorant and misinformed populace.

(And why those proposed CRTC regulations are so dangerous!)

laura k said...

The truth is that the GOP expands and bloats government and spends $$$ like crazy* and runs up trillions in debt. Yet they make people think the exact opposite is true.

The tax-and-spend Tories, currently running attack ads on the tax-and-spend Liberals, are spending on fighter jets and prisons. IOIYC!

James said...

Some video comments on the If He Didn't Break Any Bones You Have To Have His Baby bill and the We Can't Save The Fetus Either Way, But If We Let You Die At Least We Didn't Kill It bill.

James said...

Another insane GOP rape bill: victims of rape, stalking, and family violence could only be referred to as "accusers" until the defendant has been convicted. This rule does not apply to victims of assault, burglary, fraud, etc -- those are still "victims" even before a conviction. But until your attacker is actually convicted, you haven't been raped.