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

As usual the aclu has extremely exaggerated this law to the point of outright untruth. Section 4b of the law HB31: "No health care provider shall be civilly, criminally, or administratively liable for declining to participate in a health care service that violates his or her conscience except when failure to do would immediately endanger the life of a patient." [This to protect people who believe abortion (for example) is morally wrong and would be forced or pressured into participating or suffer repercussions such as termination, lawsuit, etc.]
Section 4 d: (d) Notwithstanding any other provision in this act, in a life-threatening situation where no other health care provider is available or capable of providing or participating in a health care service, a health care provider shall provide and participate in treatment, care, or procedures until an alternate health care provider capable of providing or participating in the emergency treatment, care, or procedures is found or otherwise becomes available.

Anonymous

For people having trouble finding the link in the text, here it is:
http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/acas/searchableinstruments/2014RS/Printfiles//HB31-eng.pdf

And no, the ACLU is not wrong nor are they editorializing. The bill is designed to allow health care providers not to provide care and get away with it.

Anonymous

Is this story based upon factual events? Or is this a 'what if 'situation? Please cite your sources or give us something to back this up. Because if it turns out that this is a made up story, you are hurting your credibility terribly. I am not trying to be cheeky. I just need to see something to back this up.

Anonymous

http://openstates.org/al/bills/2014rs/HB31/documents/ALD00017702/

See Section 4 Paragraph d. It's on page 5.

Anonymous

This law is disgusting and beyond belief. HOWEVER, even though medical staff MAY refuse treatment, there is a good chance that they will not do so. I simply cannot imagine any doctor refusing to treat a women who needs emergency attention. I HOPE that I am right.

Politicians at every level seem to be attacking women worse than ever!

Anonymous

The ACLU should be ashamed for publishing this blog and I encourage the author to take a couple of minutes to read the bill. I'm just so disappointed in the complete failure to do even a little bit of research. Alabama House Bill 31 specifically states in Section 4 part d that emergency medical care must be given. I have pasted it here:

(d) Notwithstanding any other provision in this act,
4 in a life-threatening situation where no other health care
5 provider is available or capable of providing or participating
6 in a health care service, a health care provider shall provide
7 and participate in treatment, care, or procedures until an
8 alternate health care provider capable of providing or
9 participating in the emergency treatment, care, or procedures
10 is found or otherwise becomes available

Furthermore, this type of legislation is present in nearly all states. Alabama is hardly breaking ground or pushing any boundaries as this doomsday blog woud have us believe. You can read the bill here: http://legiscan.com/AL/text/HB31/id/931440/Alabama-2014-HB31-Engrossed.pdf

You can read about health care workers refusals to provide services here: http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_RPHS.pdf

Anonymous

I found and read the bill. It literally has NOTHING to do with miscarriages. Page 3, Section 3, Para 4 defines the Health Care Services and makes no mention of miscarriage, only "abortion, human cloning, human embryonic stem cell research, and sterilization". It also states Page 5 Section 4 Para (d) that any time a possible life threatening situation occurs, the individual will perform medicine regardless of this law. Also, the law states that this law does not apply to abortion clinics in Page 7 Section 6 and 7.
In a summary this states that an employee can write a letter to their employer that they do not want to take part in the four items in Page 3, Section 3, Para 4. They must do it 24 hours before any incident where they would have to assist in a proceedure and if it is an emergency then they have no choice and must assist (say someone slips and gets hurt during an abortion, you can be ordered to help). What this bill does not do is address miscarriages at all, reduce abortion rights (hospitals cannot reject women and must provide medical assistance, even if everyone in the hospital writes a letter saying they will not do it, the hospital will order medical staff to do so), nor put women at risk.
Before you respond, read the bill. It is 8 pages and does nothing like what this "author" is reporting.

Anonymous

Heres your big raspberry

Anonymous

Time to up my monthly pledge to the ACLU.

Anonymous

I would guarantee that this law targets specifically abortion for abortion's sake alone. No matter how backward you think our great state is, I am sure that no professional would turn down a woman who is in NEED of an abortion to save her life. Alabama citizens, for the most part, are against the killing of babies for mothers to whom pregnancy is an inconvenience. That thought has nothing to do with saving mothers whose lives are in jeopardy because of complications in pregnancy. Seriously quit posting alarmist stuff that has very little to do with reality.

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