You may want to sit down for this one. Congress is going to start debating HR 358, the “Protect Life Act.” Sounds good, right?
HR 358 has been nicknamed the “Let Women Die” Act, as it would allow hospitals that receive federal funds to turn away women seeking abortions to save their lives.
The bill also proposes outlawing federal funds from going to health plans that cover abortion services. It would also make it impossible to stop federal funds from going to health organizations that don’t support abortion rights.
When it was introduced in February, Rep. Pitts’s spokesperson told Talking Points Memo that the bill isn’t newly killing women; it reinforces hospitals’ already-existing rights to refuse to save them.
Since the 1970s, existing law affirmed the right to refuse involvement in abortion in all circumstances.
The Protect Life Act simply extends these provisions to the new law by inserting a provision that mirrors Hyde-Weldon. In other words, this bill is only preserving the same rights that medical professionals have had for decades.
I’d just like to take this opportunity to point out that the “Protect Life” designation does not, in fact, protect life; if a woman’s life-saving abortion is denied, guess what? The fetus does not survive, either.
This debate will likely be the first of many over the coming months. Next on the agenda is Florida Republican Cliff Stearns‘s request for an in-depth probe of the financial records of Planned Parenthood, to make sure they’re not trying to use taxpayer money to fund abortions for poor people. If there’s anyone who should be forced to carry pregnancies to term, it’s a woman too poor to go anywhere but Planned Parenthood for an abortion, and if there’s anything that will save the American taxpayer money, it’s making sure that as many babies as possible are born into poverty.
Votes on abortion funding earlier this year split down party lines in both the House and the Senate, which means the Republican-controlled House will probably pass this one, too.