WASHINGTON—North Carolina gynecologist Monique Chireau called a nearby abortion center after one of her patients came to her with a perforation in her uterus from a botched, late-term abortion. When Chireau asked the abortionist about the incident, he told her he knew about his mistake but didn’t want to send the patient to the emergency room.
“That’s really malpractice,” Chireau said.
Chireau was one of several panelists and lawmakers at a Tuesday Judiciary Committee hearing who condemned the bill proposed by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., that would overturn pro-life state legislation limiting abortion.
Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, challenged the senators to bring the bill to the Senate floor so the American voters would know where its lawmakers stand. She also encouraged them to vote on a bill from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., that would ban abortion after 20 weeks.
“Let the American people see which bill reflects the values of each member of the United States Senate,” Tobias said.
Tobias added that Blumenthal’s bill, called the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013, is really bad advertising. Instead, it should be called the “Abortion Without Limits Until Birth Act.”
Blumenthal introduced his bill in November in response to what he called a “cascading avalanche” of state restrictions that lead to abortion center closings.
Among other things, the bill would overturn state laws requiring abortion centers to have admitting privileges to a local hospital. If Blumenthal’s bill became law, women would not be required to view ultrasounds of their unborn babies or have a waiting period before having an abortion, reversing two decades of successful pro-life efforts on the state level.
This year alone, states have already enacted 21 abortion restrictions. The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute said recent pro-life advances threaten abortion centers in Texas and Mississippi—but this might all change if Blumenthal’s bill becomes law.
Members of Congress at the committee hearing sharply questioned how the bill would protect women.
“This bill is a weak political opportunity before the midterm elections,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. “In reality, the bill disregards popular and common-sense laws.” He predicted the American people would never support the legislation.
Others suggested the bill threatens state freedom. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, asked the committee if it could name any other time the government has forbidden states to pass legislation about a certain category of activities: “Why is abortion so unique that Congress has this authority in this area but not in any other?” No one answered.
Panelist Willie Parker, an abortionist who flies from Chicago to work at Mississippi’s last abortion center, said the facility could close if courts do not overturn a state law passed last year requiring abortionists and abortion centers to register for admitting privileges at a local hospital. Parker applied for admitting privileges to 13 hospitals only to be turned down.
Admitting requirements are necessary for patient safety, Chireau said, based on her experience as a gynecologist. Many abortion centers that cannot get hospital privileges are kept out because they have dangerous practices. “If you are caring for a patient, you need to be responsible for that patient,” she said.
While the entirety of the Judiciary Committee’s Democrat majority co-sponsored this bill, only one Democrat besides Blumenthal arrived to ask questions of the panelists. The rest who attended the hearing, all Republicans, criticized the measure. Even if Democrats get enough votes to pass it in the Senate, the law has no chance of getting past the Republican-dominated House.
Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., spoke as a panelist about her experiences as a former nurse. She held up an ultrasound picture of her grandson three months before he was born, saying that abortion is not like any medical operation: “Abortion is brutal to both the mother and the child. It is not healthcare.”