“Protect Life Act” would allow doctors to let pregnant women die

I know Samhita linked to this in the What We Missed on Friday, but I think this deserves a little more attention. The proposed legislation, H.R. 358, introduced by none other than Re. Joe Pitts, would allow doctors to override the requirement to treat a person who is in danger of losing their life — that is, if that treatment would destroy the fetus. Via Jill at Feministe:

In other words, it gives doctors the green light to let pregnant women die if they have a life-threatening condition and need an emergency abortion. We know that women’s lives have been saved by abortion (and that some number of people don’t approve of the whole life-saving thing). It’s not surprising that a few religious blow-hards think it’s better for women to die instead of receiving therapeutic abortions, but to encode the view that you don’t have to save a pregnant woman’s life into federal law? That is truly sick — and shockingly cruel, even for the usual “pro-life” suspects who regularly use their ideology as a tool to punish women.

Also? It’s not like letting the pregnant woman die saves the fetus, so there’s no “protecting life” here. When the woman dies, the fetus dies too. The entire purpose of this bill is to allow ideologues to refuse necessary, life-saving care to patients, if those patients happen to be pregnant. It’s disgusting. I hope, at the very least, that this will be widely publicized, and will show the rest of the country what a far-right “culture of life” really looks like — it’s not particularly life-affirming to anyone with a uterus.

“Protect Life” my ass. We’ll keep you posted on this legislation and ways to take action.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted February 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Whose life, Rep. Pitts?

  2. Posted February 7, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Is this the natural extension of conscience clauses?

    If so, I am not surprised, but seriously grossed out.

    The double standard really chaps my ass, too. I mean, there was that Catholic hospital in the news a while back that fired a nurse that approved a life-saving abortion for a woman who was about to be killed be her ectopic (I think) pregnancy. What about her conscience? Shouldn’t she be allowed to have one as well? Or does conscience clauses only apply to withholding treatment, and not allowing it?

  3. Posted February 7, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m wondering if it would be possible to include the wording, or a link to the proposal when these sorts of posts come up. The links on this post and the ‘what we missed’ post, and the links in those links lead to pro-choice websites.

    I am fiercely pro-choice, don’t get me wrong. I just like to be able to read that material that is being interpreted so I can evaluate the interpretation and (maybe) come to my own conclusions.

    Does that make sense? Am I being weird?

    Also, this is a terrible, terrible proposition. We have our share of problems in Canada, no doubt, but my heart aches a little every time one of these things pops up in the US.

    • Posted February 7, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      You’re not being weird at all. I would also like to take a look at the wording.

  4. Posted February 7, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    I did a little quick math. Let’s say that a woman who is say 12 weeks pregnant comes in with severe complications. The doctors believe that if they do nothing, she has a 95% chance of dying (and the fetus, too, of course.) However, if they perform the abortion, she will likely live, but there may be a 1% chance of death due to abortion complications. And let’s assume that the fetus’s life is in every way equal to the woman’s.

    If this situation comes up 100 times, choosing NOT to abort will lead to 190 deaths. Choosing to abort will lead to 101. Absolutely both situations are terrible, but we can’t avoid that. However, by instituting a policy where you never abort in this situation, you are effectively trading 5 fetuses for 94 women. That’s it. You are only saving 5 fetuses, but it costs 94 women’s lives.

    So, do they think that the life of a fetus is worth 19x that of a woman? Or do they not understand that if the woman dies, the fetus dies too?

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