Rep. Slaughter Slams House Republicans’ Latest Anti-Woman, Anti-Choice Attack on House Floor
WASHINGTON, DC — On the House Floor today, Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter (NY-25) denounced Congressional Republicans’ latest anti-woman and anti-choice attack. H.R. 4712 is an unnecessary and dangerous bill that attempts to intimidate health care professionals out of providing constitutionally-guaranteed abortion care. Slaughter is co-chair of the Congressional Pro Choice Caucus.
“H.R. 4712 is just the next bill in a long line of votes by the 115th Congress that would hurt women and limit the health care services they can access. According to a recent report, in the first session of this Congress, we have taken 14 anti-women votes, and six votes to defund Planned Parenthood. Do you know how many votes we have taken to expand healthcare for women? One. To say nothing about the numerous riders on appropriations bills and efforts to defund critical family planning and healthcare programs.”
“But Congress is just part of the current crusade against women. This administration has done more than its share to ensure that 2017 saw an unprecedented amount of attacks against women and our ability to access health care,” continued Slaughter.
Slaughter’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery, are included below:
M. /Speaker, once again we are back on the House floor to pass another bill whose real intent is to harm women and limit the constitutionally protected healthcare they can receive.
To add insult to injury, this intrusive legislation is completely unnecessary. Killing an infant has always been against the law. To reiterate this point, a bipartisan law was passed in 2002 to reinforce that appropriate medical care should be given to any infant born alive. To illustrate how unnecessary this bill is, Dr. Kermit Gosnell is spending life in prison without possibility of parole for three first-degree murder convictions. But H.R. 4712 goes much further than current law and legislates medical standards of care and threatens providers with criminal and civil penalties.
The effects of this bill are best described by an Ob-Gyn from my district.
“I have been a practicing ob-gyn for more than 35 years, and it is my life’s calling to care for women across their lifespan. Throughout my career I have cared for my patients during their highest highs and lowest lows, from healthy pregnancies to devastating fetal anomalies to cancer diagnoses. I take my role as their trusted physician very seriously, and take pride in providing compassionate, ethical care to each and every patient. HR 4712 would take that ability away from me, inserting politicians into the patient-physician relationship and the profoundly personal health care decisions of my patients.
Recently I had a patient with severe HELLP Syndrome, a life-threatening blood pressure condition during pregnancy for which the only treatment is to deliver. This meant induction of her previable fetus to save her life. As her condition deteriorated, and after consulting her family, spiritual leader, and several specialists she decided to deliver, knowing that her extremely preterm infant would not survive. If enacted, HR 4712 would take away this family’s choice of providing comfort care for their baby, put my patient’s life at risk, and threaten me with criminal and civil penalties for providing appropriate and empathetic care to my patients.”
H.R. 4712 is just the next bill in a long line of votes by the 115th Congress that would hurt women and limit the health care services they can access. According to a recent report, this Congress has taken 14 anti-women votes, and six votes to defund Planned Parenthood. Do you know how many votes we have taken to expand or improve healthcare for women? One. To say nothing about the numerous riders on appropriations bills and efforts to defund critical family planning and healthcare programs.
But Congress is just part of the current crusade against women. This administration has done more than its share to ensure that 2017 saw an unprecedented amount of attacks against women and our ability to access health care. Just this morning, the administration announced a rule to allow providers, hospitals, nurses, and others to refuse patients needed health care based solely on the religious or moral beliefs of the provider. This is an unconscionable effort to blatantly ignore the needs and the best interests of the patient. This rule will put individuals’ lives and health in danger, and will result in deaths, based on an undefined moral objection that may not have to be either explained or certified.
M. /Speaker, I will close with the words of the Ob-Gyn from my district, “ The purpose of this legislation is to scare and intimidate physicians and punish them for providing abortion care, but the true impact will be on the women and families who will be denied the highest quality medical treatment they deserve. HR 4712 is a dangerous bill. I urge you to protect my patients’ access to care and reject this gross interference in the patient-physician relationship.”
I yield back the balance of my time.