House Republicans will vote this week on a bill, HR 358, entitled the 'Protect Life Act,' which would allow hospitals that receive federal funds to turn away a woman seeking an abortion, even if her life was in danger.
Under current U.S. law, any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid government 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, the facility must transfer the patient to a hospital that can.
The 'Protect Life Act,' sponsored by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA.), would allow hospitals that don’t want to provide abortions to refuse to do so, even in a life-threatening situation. The proposed law also prohibits federal funds from going to health care plans that cover any abortion services, which might prompt insurers to stop covering abortions.
Despite the 30-year-old Hyde Amendment already banning taxpayer dollars from being spent on abortions and numerous conscience clauses that allow doctors and health care professionals to refuse to perform them, Republicans insist more stringent laws are necessary.