I just received the following action alert from NOW-NYC about HR358 and had to share. Check back soon for my recap on the HR358 hearing, currently underway in the House’s Energy & Commerce health subcommittee.
The bill: “Protect Life” Act (H.R. 358) Excludes Women: Will Allow Hospitals to Let Women Die Introduced by Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA)
What the bill will do:
1. It will allow a hospital to deny life-saving care to a pregnant woman on religious or moral grounds.
Already 100 members co-sponsoring H.R. 358 agree that they would rather let a woman die then allow her access to a necessary abortion. Under current law, all patients are protected by the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act, which requires hospitals to provide treatment to any patient in an emergency regardless of ability to pay. This new bill creates an exception for pregnant women.
2. It attempts to ban all insurance coverage for abortion.
Similar to the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 3), the bill also sets out to ban all insurance coverage for abortion by denying ANY federal subsidies to plans that cover abortion, even though private funds must already be segregated to cover any abortion care. Ultimately, the bill will result in a ban of abortion coverage for individuals and small businesses accessing coverage through the health care exchanges, and it will threaten all private insurance coverage of abortion.
3. Vastly expands “conscience clause” protections.
The bill would vastly broaden “conscience clause” protections so that anyone involved in the provision of abortion services – from receptionists who make appointments to insurance company employees that process claims – to refuse to provide services on any grounds.
These are only some of the many provisions the bill includes to expand the ability of health care workers and facilities to deny access to abortion and to attempt to ban all insurance coverage of abortion.