New Report on Public Hospitals –
When abortion restrictions make exceptions for “the life of the mother,” how close to dying does that require?
Rewire News just released a shocking report on little-known laws in 11 states – Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas – that prohibit abortion care in various kinds of public facilities such as hospitals. This directly hits the poorest and sickest patients who must rely on public hospitals when something goes wrong with their pregnancies.
The report tells the story of a woman who arrived at a public hospital in Texas so sick she could not get up from a wheelchair. She was four months pregnant,and needed an abortion to save her life. A previous pregnancy had resulted in heart failure, and this time she faced a higher risk of death from cardiac arrest that increased as the pregnancy developed. But the hospital’s leadership refused to authorize the abortion she needed. The doctor caring for her told Rewire News, “It was decided that she was not going to be dying at that moment. It really was almost a cruel joke that she wasn’t really dead enough to warrant intervention.”
Some states have some exceptions, and although exceptions exist in all 11 states if a patient’s life is in danger, the power of granting an abortion rests with hospital officials who are free to interpret what that means and thus can deny a life-saving abortion.
The analysis was conducted by Guttmacher Institute for Rewire News, and you can read the complete article here.
Title X “Gag Rule” Would Have Far-Reaching Effects: 21 States Suing Federal Government to Stop It
If the Trump Administration’s changes to Title X are upheld, it will be more than words that are banned. The Title X Family Planning Program, the only Federal program for family planning services, will be crippled. Instead of offering low-income patients a full-range of services and/or information about health options, patients will be directed to so-called “crisis pregnancy” centers and “choices” will be limited to pre-natal care and adoption.
Under the current law, providers are required to offer patients a full range of options, but the “gag rule” will prevent clinics with Title X funding from either referring patients to abortion providers or discussing abortion as one of their options. The changes will not go into effect until about two months and lawsuits have already been filed to stop this terrible impact on women’s lives, but part of the damage is that women – especially low-income and people of color – feel threatened already.
The Trump Administration’s rule change goes farther than ever proposed before. It requires medical providers in Title X clinics to withhold information about abortion services or offer referrals to abortion providers. Also, anyone pregnant must be referred to prenatal care and may be referred to an adoption center, even though they do not want to carry their pregnancy to term. And clinics that want to keep receiving Title X funds will have to go through costly physical renovations to separate any abortion-related services.
Fortunately, legal challenges have already been filed. A coalition of 21 State Attorneys General, including NY State AG Letitia James, one of the leaders of the effort, filed a challenge to the constitutionality of this new “gag rule” altering the Title X family planning program. For more information, read a full account here.