By Olivia Kittel
Elm Staff Writer
Joseph R. Pitts is a Republican representative for Pennsylvania’s 16th congressional district. He has a reputation for his traditionally conservative positions and his recent proposal of the “Protect Life Act” is no exception.
The proposed act, which seeks to prevent federal funding for abortions, is a provision to the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. Aside from solely preventing abortion funding, the act would also make possible for any and all doctors or hospitals to refuse to perform abortions, even in life-threatening situations.
Currently, it is illegal to deny hospital care to a pregnant woman with a life-threatening condition. It is also law that if a federal-funded hospital cannot provide emergency care to a pregnant woman with a life-threatening condition, they must transfer her to a hospital that can.
Not only would Pitts’ act nullify the current law, but it would also allow for hospitals to refuse abortion procedure training to its employees. This means that while a hospital may be willing to perform emergency abortions, they may not have an available doctor that knows how. Finally, the passing of this act would mean that hospitals and doctors could not be held liable for their refusal to perform an emergency abortion on a woman who otherwise would not survive.
The possibility of this act being passed is appalling and as a resident of Pennsylvania’s 16th congressional district, I am ashamed to be represented by Joseph Pitts. While opposition to abortions due to unprotected sex is understandable, refusal to perform an abortion that is necessary to save the life of the mother is simply unacceptable.
Its not enough for the act to allow hospitals and doctors to refuse to perform abortions when the mother’s life is being threatened, but it also permits hospitals to deny transfers or referrals to a hospital that will perform the emergency abortion. This means that if a woman in need of an abortion is refused at the first hospital and cannot be transferred or referred to another hospital, she will die. Allowing a mother to die because of your own selfish religious or “moral” reservations seems more unethical than just performing the abortion. It is hard enough for a mother to make the decision to abort her child in order to save her own life; she shouldn’t have to endure the cruel judgments of doctors and the stress of searching for a hospital to perform the abortion. I am not suggesting that all doctors should be forced to carry out daily, unnecessary abortions- I am imploring them to put aside their religious beliefs or “morals” in order to save a life. As a doctor, you are held to the Hippocratic oath to which you swear to practice medicine ethically. Allowing a mother to die because you refuse to perform an abortion necessary to save her life is far from ethical.
Joseph Pitts’ “Protect Life Act” would allow women in need of an emergency abortion to die without repercussion to those responsible and is immensely immoral.
Volume LXXXI Issue 15