How far will anti-abortions forces go?

The Guardian reports:

A little-noticed provision cleared the House of Representatives last week that would prohibit local, state or federal authorities from requiring any institution or health care professional to provide abortions, pay for them, or make abortion-related referrals, even in cases of rape or medical emergency.

Lourdes Rivera, director of the Los Angeles-based National Health Law Program, comments on abortions foes’ concerns regarding conscientious objections by medical personnel:

“Yes, we need to respect individual freedom of religion. But at what point does it cross the line of not providing essential medical care? At what point is it malpractice?” she asked. “If someone’s beliefs interfere with practicing their profession, perhaps they should do something else.”

I’d suggest not providing medical care and refusing referrals during a medical emergency would certainly represent crossing the line.

But, I have a non-abortion related question. Isn’t there a big states rights issue at stake here?

====== Edited at 4:35 pm central time.
Ema of The Well Timed Period expressed amazement at the idea that such a bill might be passed. She has called congress about this bill and is tracking down the provisions. We currently don’t know whether this story accurately represents the bill’s contents. (Let’s hope not!)

Friday Sept. 17. Ema dashes my hopes, and say the story is, indeed, true. For her update visit: Well Timed Period

This entry posted in Abortion & reproductive rights. Bookmark the permalink. 

13 Responses to How far will anti-abortions forces go?

  1. 1
    Anne says:

    Interesting how these last two articles I’m seeing referenced in Lucia’s two related posts are from UK papers. I saw something on the MSN front page about people refusing BC pills, but overall it seems to be a little-known problem.

  2. 2
    lucia says:

    I noticed both stories ran in the UK too!

    BTW, I picked up the stories by reading the Catholic News. I couldn’t help but notice that both were relevant to the discussion on Amp’s earlier articles.

  3. 3
    Amanda says:

    States have a right to pass bigoted laws. That is their only actual right.

  4. 4
    Dana says:

    I still can’t get over not requiring them to provide abortion or even referrals in the case of life threatening emergency. Though I shouldn’t be surprised – there’s a disturbing number of people who oppose abortion even in the case of ectopic pregnancies.

  5. 5
    ema says:

    I read the article about this Bill and then I called the House of Representatives. Something is not right here. Bottom line: I can’t believe it’s possible, in the legal sense, to legalize refusal-of-care/malpractice. [It’s also possible I’m in deep denial.]

  6. 6
    ema says:

    It’s accurate. The Bill is HR 3664.

  7. 7
    NancyP says:

    I can believe it. I imagine the law would be challenged by various reproductive rights groups and amicus filed by every trial lawyer group. Plus, I don’t imagine that doctors would be made immune from civil lawsuits over pain and suffering or loss of life, health, consortium, or finances due to non-referral. Apparently there is a lot of very settled law precedent concerning abandonment of patients by physicians.

  8. 8
    lucia says:

    I imagine the law would be challenged by various reproductive rights groups and amicus filed….

    That’s what I would anticipate. However, I don’t know how the case would be resolved. Certainly, the way the two articles read, the law sounds pretty sweeping!

  9. 9
    Anne says:

    I’m wondering now if it would just die in committee, though.

  10. 10
    Sean Duggan says:

    *shrug* It comes down to one’s right to maintain one’s morality. While I see the area of life-threatening pregnancies as being one legitimately covered by any situation where a doctor has to decide between saving one life or both, I can also see a person who legitimately believes otherwise (Heck, I had a girlfriend who had decided that she’d prefer to die than to enter a hospital. She saw them as dreadfully unnatural torture machines where people toyed with life and death because it amused them) and I can understand them refusing to participate, whether firsthand or by referring, in what they believe to be murder. And while I disagree with the idea of refusing help in the case of genuine medical emergencies, removing that provision is still causing some person out there to participate in what they believe to be murder.

    In a sense, I see it as similar to how pro-choice organizations felt that a ban on partial-birth abortions was an infringement upon all abortion rights.

    As for whether they’re medically imcompetent or negligent for refusing to participate, I would disagree. Yes, this is not the doctor you want to go to in the case of seeking an abortion, but so long as they physician is up-front on their diagnosis of the ectopic pregnancy or whatever condition they are involved with the patient for (Honestly, the area of “medical emergency” only seems to apply to something like an ectopic pregnancy here, but I figured to cover my bases), they are doing their job. They just refuse to participate in an act that would be murder in their eyes.

  11. 11
    alsis38 says:

    Of course, if Dr. Fetus-Worship is the only doctor your insurance system or the poorhou– er, Emergency Room allows you access to, I guess you’re shit outta’ luck if you don’t wanna’ die just so the good doctor can keep his seat in Heaven.

    Lovely, Sean. Just lovely.

  12. 12
    Elizabeth Lee says:

    I have read this blog while researching information (pertinant in my personal situation) on ectopic pregnancy.

    It interests me, as a pro-life person, to note that pro-life people are considered extreme, while those who refer to themselves as pro-choice can be just as extreme and, in the case of this blog, inaccurate.

    Here is the truth. As Dr.Seuss said, (in “Horton Hears a Who”) “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

    As someone who is carrying a pregnancy which is believed to possibly be ectopic, I am really grieving the probable loss of this tiny life. If I could save this life and save my own, I would.

    Every pro-life and Catholic website I have found expresses that saving the life of the mother by removing her fallopian tube, and thereby costing the life of the little one, is theologically justifiable.

    To destroy the embryo is not the intent. To save the mother is the intent. If the embryo loses it’s life in the process of saving the mother, this is an unfortunate consequence, but not an evil intent. It is justifiable, and any Catholic doctor can do it in good conscience and standing with his or her church.

    Pro-life people, like me, understand the difficult life vs. life situations that lead a mother to have to choose between her own existance and that of her baby.

    What we do not understand is a mother, and a culture, choosing to make one person’s emotional state of more value than another person’s very existance.

  13. 13
    mythago says:

    It comes down to one’s right to maintain one’s morality.

    Then one shouldn’t take the Hippocratic Oath in the first place.