Protect Life Act passed by House of Representatives

October 31, 2011

“Protect Life Act H.R. 358” was passed on October the  13th by the House of Representatives by a majority of 248 to 173. Despite its nice and positive name, it should actually be called the “Let Women Die Act” (as most women rights organizations call it), because one of its most prominent features is that it allows doctors and hospitals to “exercise their conscience” by letting pregnant women if they face an emergency medical condition in which it is necessary to perform an abortion to save the life of the mother.

The implications are breathtaking: It actually overrides previous bills protecting women, such as the essential Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act from 1986 (EMTALA), which ensured public access to emergency services regardless of ability to pay, including women in active labor. Under EMTALA, hospitals must stabilize a pregnant patient who, for example, is facing an emergency obstetrical condition or life-threatening pregnancy and either treat her–including an emergency abortion– or if the hospital or staff objects, to transfer her to another facility that will treat her.

The new “Protect Life Act” overturns decades of precedent guaranteeing people access to lifesaving emergency care, including abortion care. The new bill states that it’s now ok (again) that a pregnant woman fighting for her life be left to die. If the “Protect Life Act” is not rejected by the Senate or vetoed by Obama (as he promised to do), it would stand symbolic for a monumental win for the American ultra-conservative and extremist religious groups, overturning decades of progress on women’s rights. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen.

Details on the vote:
Article on RH Reality Check:
Obama’s promise:

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Democracy Now