Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Gov. Jay Inslee says Washington will make clear that hospitals must provide emergency abortions

By 37ci3 Jun12,2024

SEATTLE – Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday that Washington state law will clarify that hospitals must provide abortions when necessary to stabilize patients. US Supreme Court does He is expected to rule this month that conservative states can ban abortions during certain medical emergencies.

There is no indication in Washington that patients are being denied emergency abortions, but the Democrat said during a news conference in Seattle that he wanted to dispel doubts that hospitals are required to provide the services if necessary.

“This is preemptive against the Supreme Court decision,” Inslee said. “If your health will be harmed in any way as a result of not receiving emergency services, you should have the right to receive those emergency services.”

States held by a majority of Republicans have set restrictions On abortion, the Supreme Court decided two years ago in Roe v. By overruling Wade, it struck down the right to terminate a pregnancy under federal law. Fourteen prohibited abortion at all stages of pregnancy with limited exceptions.

Among them is Idaho, which bans abortion except in life-threatening cases, where doctors are charged with felonies and face up to five years in prison for violations. The Biden administration sued to block Idaho’s ban, arguing that federal law requires Medicare-accepting hospitals to provide emergency abortions when the patient’s health, if not necessarily life, is at risk.

The Supreme Court, with a decision expected by the end of this month, has allowed Idaho’s ban to take effect while it hears the case.

Most Democratic-controlled states have passed laws or issued executive orders to protect access to abortion, including Washington had a three-year supply abortion drug if federal court orders restrict its availability.

Washington also increased funding for reproductive care clinics, barred the State Patrol from cooperating with out-of-state abortion investigations, and passed a shield law to protect Washington abortion patients from being transferred to another state.

Abortion rights advocates say the bans have already affected emergency care for pregnant women. More women whose conditions are usually treated with abortions must now travel out of state for care because doctors must wait until near death to perform terminations under state law.

Washington’s administrative code says hospitals must provide emergency care to patients, but so far it has not said that includes emergency abortions. Inslee directed the state Department of Health to change that.

“Washington State hospitals are already required by state law to provide emergency care to people experiencing these types of pregnancy complications,” the Washington State Hospital Association said in a written statement Tuesday. “Washington hospitals provide that care, including to people who cross the border from Idaho and need care.”

Inslee said that since the Supreme Court overturned Roe, the number of women coming from the state to Washington for abortions has increased by 50%.

Washington University professor of obstetrics and gynecology Dr. Sarah Prager said Tuesday that she has traveled to Washington for the past two years and treated patients who could not be treated at home, including patients with premature births. membranes and an infected uterus, another with a complicated ectopic pregnancy about to burst, and a third with bleeding from an incomplete birth.

“When I, or any doctor, has a patient in front of me, I don’t have to pause and consult with the hospital’s legal team to figure out if I can act,” Prager said. “These wasted moments can cost patients their health, future productivity, and even their lives.”

Abortion opponents say the doctors mishandled the mother’s emergencies and argue that the Biden administration has overstated the threat of overturning the state’s abortion bans.

“We want the highest standard of care for women and make an exception for abortion to save the mother’s life,” said Esther Ripplinger, president of Human Life in Washington. “But when you say ‘health’ is threatened – that’s an interesting suggestion, because now ‘health’ can mean, ‘Oh, I have a headache, I need an abortion.’ … We must know very clearly what this emergency is and what is not.”

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By 37ci3

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