Today the GOP-led House of Representatives, with the blessings and encouragement of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops and extremist religious groups such as the Family Research Council, passed a bill in a vote of 251 to 172 that would, among other things, allow doctors and hospitals to "exercise their conscience" by letting pregnant women facing emergency medical conditions die.Were there any remaining uncertainty about how truly extreme and profoundly misogynist the GOP House majority's agenda is, the passage of HR358 should eradicate every last trace of doubt.
This is what the Republicans called the "Protect Life Act." And no, I am not kidding.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called it what it is... "a savage assault on women's health."
Fifteen Democrats voted for what women's groups are calling the "Let Women Die" Act. These include anti-choice Congressmen Jason Altmire (PA), Sanford Bishop (GA), Dan Boren (OK), Jerry Costello (IL), Mark Critz (PA), Henry Cuellar (TX), Joe Donnelly (IN), Tim Holden (PA), Dan Lipinski (IL), Jim Matheson (UT), Mike McIntyre (NC), Nick Rahall (WVA), Mike Ross (AR), Collin Petersen (MN), and Heath Shuler (D-NC).
"Extremists prevailed today in the House of Representatives," said Debra Ness of the National Partnership for Women and Families, "proving again that they are badly out-of-touch with the majority of Americans who want lawmakers to focus on economic recovery, jobs and promoting, rather than restricting, affordable, quality health care -- not [on] an extreme, anti-woman agenda."
Not only does HR358 give the loathsome Stupak amendment a new lease on life, thus attempting to control even whether women can use their own money to buy health insurance with abortion coverage, but it also "contains other provisions revealing complete disregard for women's health and lives," most notably:
[H.R. 358] 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.This is not hyperbole: The Republican Party—and a sizable portion of the male contingent of the Democratic Party—believes that it is morally acceptable to let a woman die rather than give her a life-saving abortion.
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.
Which they justify by saying it's because they want to "protect life." Sure.
You know, I'm beginning to think it's a bad idea that only 16% of the elected officials in the Congress of our "representative democracy" are women. Ahem.