Federal Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act (S 78)
This law was last updated on Nov 12, 2018
S 78 would require a physician who performs an abortion to: (1) have admitting privileges at a local hospital, and (2) notify the patient of the location of the hospital where the patient can receive follow-up care by the physician if complications arise. The bill would exempt from these requirements a physician who performs an abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.
As reported by RH Reality Check:
Proponents of admitting privileges laws charge that the legislation is based on safety, arguing that abortion providers should have an explicit contract with a hospital just in case something goes awry during the procedure.
This anti-choice argument is based on no medical evidence: According to medical professionals, abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States. Admitting privileges laws, the rules of which are not applied to other kinds of outpatient surgical centers, are instead a political tool to decrease abortion access, abortion proponents charge.
S 139 would also require each abortion clinic that receives federal funds or assistance to be licensed by the state and be in compliance with the requirements for ambulatory surgery centers under title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act, except for the requirement of a certificate of public need. State boards of health would be permitted to waive the application of certain structural requirements for licensing purposes in order to comply with this Act.
The bill defines “abortion clinic” to mean a facility other than a hospital or an ambulatory surgery center, in which 25 or more first trimester abortions are performed during any 12-month period.
Sen. Vitter has introduced this bill in every congressional session since 2007. (Source.) Democrats controlled the Senate in each of those sessions. Now that Republicans control the Senate, this bill may finally pass.