In a 251 to 170 vote, Republicans led the House to pass the “Protect Life Act” last night, sponsored by veteran anti-choice Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA). Known by women’s health advocates as the “Let Women Die” bill, the measure allows hospitals that receive federal funds to reject any woman in need of an abortion procedure, even if it is necessary to save her life. Only two Republicans opposed it, along with all but 15 Democrats. Though there is already a law that bans federal funds from supporting abortion, Republicans insisted that the Affordable Care Act “contains a loophole that allows those receiving federal subsidies to use the money to enroll in health care plans that allow abortion services.” President Obama has promised to veto this and any bill that infringes upon a woman’s constitutional right to choose.Guess how the locals voted? Take a look.
- Kelly (R-PA3)
- Altmire (D-PA4)
- Thompson (R-PA5)
- Schuster (R-PA9)
- Critz (D-PA12)
- Murphy (R-PA18)
- Doyle (D-PA14)
And what did they vote for? From the summary at Thomas.gov:
Amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to prohibit federal funds from being to used to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion services. (Currently, federal funds cannot be used for abortion services and plans receiving federal funds must keep federal funds segregated from any funds for abortion services.)And:
Prohibits a federal agency or program and any state or local government that receives federal financial assistance under PPACA from requiring any health plan created or regulated under PPACA to discriminate against any institutional or individual health care entity based on the entity's refusal to undergo training in the performance of induced abortions, require or provide such training, or refer for such training.That last part's what's troubling. Via Thinkprogress we get this from Talkingpointsmemo:
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.This is why opponents of the bill call it the "Let Women Die" bill.
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.
That's what Jason Altmire, Democrat from Pennsylvania's 4th Congressional District, and Marc Critz, Democrat from Pennsylvania's 12 District, voted for.
UPDATE: Oops - I erred and labelled Congressman Critz a Republican. I've made the appropriate corrections. Thanks to the commenter for pointing out my error.