In 2011, The House of Representatives passed a measure (251-172) to change the federal health care bill to include protections against federal tax funding of abortion, as well as strengthened conscience rights for health care providers nationwide.
Known as the Protect Life Act, H.R. 358, the bill as expected has been quite controversial.
For pro-life groups, like the USCOCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops), say that this protective life insurance act is critical for preserving the current status quo on abortion.
Most groups site the conscience rights in the face of a health reform that promises to drastically alter the landscape of the abortion battle in America.
The act prohibits any taxpayer dollars from funding coverage of elective abortions. This requires amending the would amending ObamaCare to change the verbage on abortion coverage. This does keep in place the, Hyde amendment which is an exception for abortions if the child’s conception was due to a rape or incest, and if the procedure is neccessary to save the mother’s life.
This touched close to home for California Democrat Representative Jackie Speier, who admitted that in 2010 she suffered a miscarriage and required a procedure to end her pregnancy. She accused Republicans of being “absolutely misogynist” for bringing up the bill and discrediting women who are faced with the decision when their lives are on the line.
The bill also makes clear that no health insurance carrier may be forced to provide coverage of abortion in any of its health plans, and strengthens the conscience rights of health care workers and institutions to reject abortion training, procedures, or referrals.
Pro-abortion-rights groups, such as Planned Parenthood, also maintain the bill adds a new restriction. Currently, hospitals that receive federal funds but don’t have facilities to treat women who may need emergency abortion services are directed to transfer those patients to a health care facility that can treat them. The Pitts bill removes that requirement.