Alabama Hospitals To Pregnant Women – "Sorry, honey, we won’t help you here."

It's what every pregnant woman fears. There she is excited to be pregnant for the first time. She is finally getting over the morning sickness, and she and her husband have just shared the happy news with their friends and family. Then, one night the unimaginable happens. She is lying in bed and she begins to feel immense pain and cramping. She knows something isn't right. She goes to the bathroom and she sees blood. Quickly, she wakes up her husband and the two of them rush to the emergency room.

All miscarriages can be devastating. But, for women in Alabama, this nightmare could soon get a lot worse. This week, the Alabama Senate is set to consider a cruel bill (HB 31) that would permit the hospital staff, including any doctor, nurse, counselor, or lab technician, to refuse to participate in any phase of patient medical care related to ending a pregnancy, even if that is what a patient like this woman needs to protect her own health and future fertility.

Yes, you heard that right. Under this law, if you or a loved one is pregnant and go to an emergency room in Alabama because of serious complications, every medical professional in that emergency room could refuse to help you if the care you needed to protect you from serious harm to your health required ending the pregnancy.

"That can't be true," you say. "How could a doctor at my local hospital turn me away and refuse to treat me? Isn't that malpractice?"

The Alabama legislature is one step ahead of you. The bill would also protect health care professionals from liability for refusing to provide necessary medical care. What's more, the bill would exempt the hospital from liability under Alabama law. This means that even if the hospitals know that the on-duty doctor won't provide appropriate medical care, Alabama law says that in most cases they have no obligation to find someone who will. In effect, the Alabama legislature is saying to a pregnant woman in distress, "Good luck. You are on your own."

Fortunately, there is something you can do. We may not all agree about abortion, but we can all agree that people in Alabama deserve the peace of mind of knowing that when they or a loved one go to a hospital seeking emergency care, they will get the medical care they need. Please help get the word out about this dangerous bill. Share this blog on Facebook and Twitter, and let politicians know where you stand by signing our pledge to fight back against attacks on women's health. But please act quickly. The House has already passed this dangerous bill and the Senate could take it up any day.

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Anonymous

the editorializing in this article is salacious - the bill is intended to protect the life of the child, not to refuse treatment to the mother - the aclu is clearly wrong as usual

Anonymous

What if someone brought up these arguments to justify the killing of an infant: “The baby was conceived through rape” - “The infant is deformed and mentally handicapped” - “The mother’s health is suffering as a result of her baby.” Would anyone who endorses abortion in the womb openly justify the killing of an infant using these excuses? No, they would not. This proves that these objections are insincere and that the heart of the matter is whether the fetus is a living human. If it could be proven that the human fetus is just as alive and just as human as the infant, then these objections would not justify aborting a fetus any more than an infant.

HEY IDIOTS

GO AWAY RELIGIOUS DOUCHES
IF ITS NOT YOUR BODY IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS

Anonymous

I have tried to find out about this law. I have been unsuccessful. I now doubt the veracity of this article. Certainly the credibility of the ACLU is undermined if the content of the article is false or misleading. Jenny Lee please post the sources of your information. Thanks.

Anonymous

Doctor must have wiped his ass with the Hippocratic Oath.

ktward

Ms. Lee,

A link to this AL bill? Or, at the very least, cite the specific bill you're referencing?

One of the commenters above points to AL HB57, but that bill only applies to "abortion or reproductive health centers" and makes no mention of hospital emergency rooms. Which makes sense, of course, because AFAIK no hospital emergency room can deny treatment to any patient thanks to EMTALA 1986.

As a pro-choice advocate, I'm disturbed whenever I read vague or otherwise misleading editorial from one of our movement's biggest hitters. You're not helping, Ms. Lee, so I hope you'll either clean up this editorial or, well, get off my team.

ktward

Ms. Lee,

A link to this AL bill? Or how about just citing the specific bill you're referencing?

One of your earlier commenters points to AL HR57, but that bill specifies "abortion or reproductive health centers". Nothing about hospital ERs, which makes sense since nearly all hospital ERs are required to treat patients unconditionally thanks to EMTALA 1986.

As a pro-choice advocate, I'm concerned when one of our arguably biggest hitters throws up vague or otherwise misleading editorial. You're not helping.

RN-Anonymous

I highly doubt that this is a legit article or law...it's against everything EMTALA stands for, the Hippocratic oath, and doctor/nurse's conscience. A miscarriage is accompanied with a large amount of bleeding and can be life threatening. The baby's life isn't being ended by a medical professional bc it's already been ended or at least seriously compromised before even arriving at the hospital. People need to give us medical professionals a break and realize that we are just as human as they are, we don't look at the color of your skin, or your economical circumstances. We seriously live to serve and no law can change than or make our consciences no feel anymore. Come on people

Anonymous

@6

If you can't imagine a hospital doing this, then you missed the recent suit the ACLU brought against the Conference of Catholic Bishops because their directives caused a Catholic hospital following said directive to do exactly this. They turned away a woman miscarrying and developing a fever that indicated developing sepsis. If she hadn't actually started delivering the fetus on the third visit, they were about to send her home once again, possibly to die.

So no...a conscience clause that makes no provision for someone else to take on that treatment risks lives.

Anonymous

Why would any thinking person choose to live in Alabama?

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