Thursday, October 20, 2011

Government So Small it Will Allow a Doctor to Kill a Woman But Big Enough to Keep Her from Talking to Her Doctor

Last week the GOP-controlled House of Representatives passed House Resolution 358, the so-called “Protect Life Act”. However, many people have taken to referring to this bill, not as the “Protect Life Act” but, rather, as the “Let Women Die Act”. Why you ask?

Imagine that you’re a pregnant woman. And imagine that something terrible happens and suddenly your life is danger. You are rushed to the nearest hospital. When examined, it becomes clear that an emergency abortion is required to save your life. But the hospital or the treating physician is opposed to abortion and therefore refuses to offer or even discuss that treatment with you. And so you die. The fetus, too.

Under existing law, the hospital can’t do that (well, not if the hospital receives any federal funds and virtually all do); a hospital can’t allow a woman to die if the only way to save her is to perform an abortion.

But the Protect Life/Let Women Die Act would overturn that existing law. It would allow a hospital or doctor to exercise their conscience and not perform the necessary life-saving procedure. In fact, as I understand it, the hospital or doctor would not even have to tell the woman that an abortion could save her life.

I’m really curious to hear from the pro-life readers of this blog whether they think that is the right outcome. I’m not asking whether a hospital should be required to perform elective abortions and I’m not asking whether federal or state funds should be used to pay for abortions. I just want to know what people think about a hospital or doctor allowing a woman to die in order not to perform an abortion.

And if the woman dies, so too, I imagine, will the fetus. So what life is being “protected”?

Ah, but that isn’t enough for one Senator. Nope. He wants to be sure that women can’t even discuss abortion with their doctor via the Internet or teleconference (i.e., Skype):

Anti-choice Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) just filed an anti-choice amendment to a bill related to agriculture, transportation, housing, and other programs. The DeMint amendment could bar discussion of abortion over the Internet and through videoconferencing, even if a woman's health is at risk and if this kind of communication with her doctor is her best option to receive care.

(Emphasis in original.) [Note that the text of the DeMint amendment has apparently not yet been posted; rather, he apparently discussed the amendment in remarks made to the Senate that will be included in the Congressional Record before the amendment is formally introduced.]

Funny, but I don’t remember Sen. DeMint proposing laws to ban the use of the Internet for discussion about assassinating President Obama. I don’t recall him trying to prohibit people from using Skype to discuss efforts to disenfranchise several hundred thousand African Americans in his home state of South Carolina. Nope. And, if I recall correctly, Sen. DeMint was one of those vocal opponents on the issue of net neutrality, fearing Glenn Beck’s completely misplaced fear of a government takeover of the Internet.

But when it comes to the issue of abortion, Sen. DeMint is happy to trample on the First Amendment, the freedom of the Internet, and a woman’s right to have a discussion with her doctor.

I wonder: Will he next propose a ban on women discussing abortion with their doctors in a face-to-face environment? Will he try to ban online discussions of homosexuality? Maybe we should ban any discussion of things that a far-right, evangelical Christian doesn’t agree with. Internet Theocracy perhaps?

So just take a few moments and think about where the Republican party is today. They want smaller government. So small, in fact, that it will let women die. But not so small that it won’t prevent the use of the Internet to advance the doctor-patient relationship.

Shameless. And disgusting.

Is this why people voted Republican?

Oh, one last question: How many jobs will either of these proposals create?

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