Imagine going to a hospital. The staff discover that you have, or are at risk of, a life-threatening condition, but they don’t treat you or tell you. They send you home.
In Expanding Conscience, Shrinking Care: The Crisis in Access to Reproductive Care and the Affordable Care Act’s Nondiscrimination Mandate, Elizabeth Deutsch highlights such a scenario—a real-life case in which a hospital provided a pregnant woman with neither treatment nor information about the threat to her life posed by her nonviable pregnancy. Tamesha Means survived, but developed “a potentially deadly infection.” (If you’re interested in her case, information is available here.) Regardless of individual practitioners’ lack of religious or moral objections, many hospitals prohibit treatment that would terminate a pregnancy, even when it is unlikely to reach viability and poses a severe threat to the mother’s health. Practitioners are also prohibited from informing these women of this threat or that they may be treated by a different hospital.
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