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Where the War on Women Leads

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Just so we’re clear:

Last month, a woman was admitted to a hospital in Galway, Ireland. She was 17 weeks pregnant with a wanted child. She was experiencing severe back pain. She was found to be miscarrying the pregnancy.

Within days, she was dead.

Why? Because she ended up in a Catholic hospital, governed by an ethic that even a non-viable fetus doomed to die is more important than a living, breathing 31-year-old woman.

It really is that simple.

Again, the fact that the anti-choice movement tends to attract misogynists so grotesque that they can’t win in states losing Republican presidential candidates carry by double digits isn’t some random coincidence. And as for the idea that religious institutions that perform secular functions with taxpayer dollars should be exempt from generally applicable law, I’m going to continue to vote “no.”

Update (djw): it seems worth noting that the US House of Representatives passed a resolution last year that would have moved US law much closer to the legal status quo in Ireland that permitted this ghastly, evil act:

H.R. 358 contains other provisions revealing complete disregard for women’s health and lives. It permits states to enact sweeping refusal laws that would allow health plans to refuse to cover women’s preventive services, including birth control, without cost-sharing — undoing a new protection under health reform supported by 66 percent of Americans.  It also codifies and significantly expands an already expansive refusal clause (also known as the Weldon amendment) without any regard for patient rights or protections. Under current law (through the 2004 Weldon amendment), hospitals, health care facilities, and insurance plans can refuse to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.  The Weldon amendment has no protections for patients to ensure they have access to care and information in a timely manner.  H.R. 358 codifies this unfair and discriminatory provision.  H.R. 358 further allows health care entities–hospitals, clinics–to refuse to “participate in” abortion care.  This could mean that a hospital employee with no medical training or role in a patient’s treatment decisions could refuse to process bills, handle medical records, or even set up an examination room for a patient seeking abortion care.

And finally, it overrides protections for pregnant women under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act.  EMTALA was enacted in 1986 to ensure 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 obstetric 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.

H.R. 358 overturns decades of precedent guaranteeing people access to lifesaving emergency care, including abortion care and says its ok that a pregnant woman fighting for her life be left to die.

…[SL]: Also, Ohio Republicans would make the behavior of the doctors in Ireland not merely permissible but legally obligatory.

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