Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Actby Representative Judy Chu
Posted on 2015-09-18
CHU of California. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time
as I may consume.
Contrary to its misleading title, this bill is not about protecting children born alive. Its real intent is to further undermine a woman's right to choose, a right that has been constitutionally guaranteed for more than 42 years by Roe v. Wade.
Not only does this bill attempt to politicize women's health and to limit women's access to abortion, it would interfere with the sacred doctor-patient relationship and substitute a physician's best judgment with the judgment of a handful of politicians'.
We must not forget that this bill has come to the floor at the same time as the push to defund Planned Parenthood.
This attack on a venerable and respected provider of high-quality health care would have a devastating impact on women, especially women in rural communities, low-income women, and women of color, and it would deny women access to preventive care, life-saving cancer screenings, and family planning services.
Approximately one woman in five has relied on Planned Parenthood for health care at some point in her lifetime. It is a blatant attack on women and families to defund an organization that uses Federal funds to prevent abortions and to help families stay healthy and cannot even use Federal funding for abortion.
It would be the saddest of ironies that, by defunding Planned Parenthood's critical contraception and other reproductive health services in the name of opposing abortion, we would see more unintended pregnancies and, therefore, more abortions.
Among its flaws, H.R. 3504 proposes a standard of care for abortion providers that could interfere with the ability of physicians to make medical decisions for their patients.
In doing so, the bill represents an unprecedented level of intrusion by the government into medical decisions.
For instance, the bill requires an abortion provider to immediately transport a fetus to a hospital in some cases even if the fetus is not viable under existing law and under the standards of care applicable to neonatal physicians.
This requirement is so broad and the penalties so severe--up to 5 years in prison--that one can only conclude that the real purpose of the bill is to intimidate abortion providers out of service.
The bill also requires doctors and employees of hospitals and clinics that provide abortion services to report any violations of the bill's standard of care [[Page H6145]] to State or Federal law enforcement authorities.
Any person who fails to comply with these requirements is threatened with fines and up to 5 years in prison. This is not just the doctors but the cleaning crew and the receptionists.
On top of this, the language in this bill completely fails to distinguish between a viable and non-viable fetus, which is the constitutional line that separates abortions that may be performed without restrictions from those that may be regulated or prohibited.
The bill's vague and broad mandates, combined with severe penalties, will effectively intimidate doctors and ultimately drive them away from the abortion practice, which appears to be the true intent of this troubling bill.
This is why so many organizations are opposed to this bill, those like the National Women's Law Center, the AAUW, the ACLU, and Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.
In fact, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which represents 58,000 physicians, opposes H.R. 3504 because it represents a gross interference in the practice of medicine, inserting a politician between a woman and her doctor.
By intimidating doctors and thereby making abortion unavailable as a practical matter, abortion opponents seek to accomplish, in fact, what they have not accomplished in the courts or in public opinion. Simply put, H.R. 3504 is yet another attack on women's health and rights.
When the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, or BAIPA, became law 13 years ago, the bill's sponsors clarified that the law was not intended to affect abortion practice or a woman's right to choose.
We did not want to constrain or chill medical decisions regarding patient care. That is why Judiciary Committee Democrats voted to support it.
The bill before us today appears to directly contradict those assurances. Let's not forget that politicians are not doctors.
We should be concerned about doing our jobs and fully funding high- quality women's health care instead of trying to keep doctors from doing theirs. I strongly urge my colleagues to oppose this dangerous bill.