Yesterday, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-32) and her fellow House Judiciary Committee members took up debate on H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. This dangerous bill would raise taxes on small businesses, individuals and companies, while severely limiting a woman's ability to access and afford abortion services. Rep. Chu introduced two amendments to the bill to ensure that pregnant women continue to have access to a full range of healthcare services. Both amendments failed passage in a vote along party lines.
The first amendment would have simply clarified that pregnant women would continue to be able to access the same emergency care as everyone else. Rep. Chu expressed dismay at the failure of its passage. "This amendment should be completely non-controversial and is merely a clarifying amendment," said Rep. Chu. "It just makes clear that nothing in this bill relieves doctors and hospitals of their moral and legal obligation, under current law, to provide emergency health care services."
Under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), or patient anti-dumping act, a hospital cannot deny service to a patient needing emergency care. "I hope that no one here would suggest that H.R. 3 allows women coming in to a hospital for life or death care to be provided with anything less than the best and fullest care," Rep. Chu said. "We cannot allow anyone to misunderstand the law when women's lives are at stake. We cannot be silent about a woman's right to life."
Rep. Chu's second amendment would have clarified that doctor's must fully disclose medical treatment options to patients. This provision is already law under the Affordable Healthcare Act, and Rep. Chu's amendment would have simply guaranteed that the provision remains in effect under H.R. 3. "This bill should not give providers a pass from telling women what their choices are, no matter their personal beliefs. That's not right and it's not ethical, so my amendment reiterates this legal right to protect women and their health," said Rep. Chu.
Rep. Chu voted against H.R. 3, which passed the Judiciary Committee on a vote of 23-14. "The failure of these amendments and the passage of this bill once again demonstrates that the Republicans are more concerned with playing games with the health of women across the country instead of trying to support their families and put them back to work," Rep. Chu said.
Representative Judy Chu was elected in July 2009 to the U.S. House of Representatives as the Representative of California's 32nd District, which includes East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley. She is a member of the House Judiciary and Small Business Committees, as well as the new chair of CAPAC.
Congresswoman Chu's career in politics spans 24 years. A lifelong educator, Congresswoman Chu taught community college classes in Los Angeles and East Los Angeles for 20 years. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology and a B.A. in mathematics.