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Pitts Bill A Dangerous and Reckless Intrusion Into Women's Health and Lives, Says National Women's Law Center

Legislation would take away existing health insurance coverage, place women’s lives at risk

October 13, 2011

(Washington, D.C.) The House of Representatives is slated to vote today on H.R. 358, also known as the “Protect Life Act,” a reckless bill that endangers women’s health and threatens their ability to purchase private health insurance that includes abortion coverage. The bill also allows hospitals to refuse to provide care to women in need of an emergency abortion without any longer running afoul of the law. Further, H.R. 358 also would allow states to exempt insurance plans from any federal requirement in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including requirements that plans cover contraceptives and other basic health care for women to which they object.

The following is a statement by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center:

“H.R. 358 is a dangerous and reckless intrusion into women’s health care and their ability to obtain the insurance coverage they need. It would prevent millions of women from purchasing health insurance that includes abortion care and cause them to lose the coverage they currently have, since most plans currently cover the procedure.

“When the state health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act come into effect, this bill would stop anyone from buying a plan that includes abortion coverage with their own money, no matter how small the federal subsidy they receive, and insurance plans would be banned from covering abortion if they included even one individual who receives a subsidy of any amount. These extreme restrictions would deter insurance companies from covering abortion, even in circumstances where an abortion was necessary to protect a woman’s health from serious complications.

“This bill also would undercut the longstanding Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), which requires hospitals to provide stabilizing treatment to individuals in medical emergencies. This extreme bill, which would permit hospitals to deny an emergency abortion to a woman whose life or health could be saved by the procedure, undermines the central principle of our medical system to save lives by singling out women and putting their health and lives at risk.

“Women and men across the country have been clamoring for Congress to address the jobs crisis and boost the economy. Instead, leaders in the House of Representatives are debating legislation limiting women’s access to reproductive health care. We urge members of Congress to put women’s health first and defeat this dangerous and mean-spirited bill.”


More information on H.R. 358 is available at: