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Repealing Mandatory Funding for Graduate Medical Education

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. DeGETTE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Well, here we are again, forced to stand up again to protecting women's health care against an extreme agenda. I disagree with the whole underlying bill, Mr. Chairman, but even so, even so, how one could tie restricting a woman's right to choose to graduate medical education is sort of beyond me.

Let me explain why this is just an extreme and direct attack on women's health.

What it would mean is that across the country residents would be barred from learning how to perform even a basic medical procedure required for women's health. This amendment would jeopardize both education and women's health care by obliterating funding for a necessary full range of medical training by health care professionals.

And here's the thing. The Hyde amendment is the law of the land right now. I don't like the Hyde amendment. I would repeal the Hyde amendment. But frankly, the Hyde amendment has been in place for over 30 years, and it's not going away. And what it says is no Federal funds shall be used for abortions except in the case of rape, incest, or the life of the mother.

Now, there is nothing in the Hyde amendment about restricting medical doctors' training to legal medical procedures. There's nothing about graduate medical education in the Hyde amendment whatsoever. And if we pass this amendment, we will not allow basic medical training that would even allow doctors to provide the procedures that are allowed under the Hyde amendment--life, rape, or incest.

And let me talk about why this is so incredibly dangerous for women's health.

Ensuring that doctors and nurses are fully trained in abortion procedures is essential to ensuring that they can be providing lifesaving care when abortion is a medically necessary procedure to save the life of a pregnant woman.

Now, most pregnancies, thank goodness, progress safely. But sometimes there's an emergency. And sometimes a medical abortion is necessary to protect a woman's health or life. For example, Mr. Chairman, in cases of preeclampsia, hemorrhage, and severe pulmonary hypertension, or bleeding placenta previa, which can be fatal if left untreated, an abortion is a life-saving procedure. In addition, in managing a miscarriage, sometimes an abortion procedure is essential to saving the woman's life.

Now, under this amendment, virtually any type of health care facility could face the loss of funding if they needed to provide abortion care in an emergency situation. And moreover, Mr. Chairman, residents need to be trained in how to handle these very complicated conditions that could necessitate an abortion.

I'm afraid to say these examples are tragically real. The case involving a woman experiencing severe hypertension that threatened her life at St. Joseph's Hospital made the news when a nun, Sister McBride, was excommunicated last year for allowing the woman's life to be saved through an abortion.

The Foxx amendment would also greatly expand the reasons why health care entities should give in to refusing care.

So, Mr. Chairman, here's the thing. Maybe we don't like abortions, and all of us wish abortions would be rare. But sadly, even in the case of a wanted child with a loving home and everything else, even in the case of an exception under the Hyde amendment, sometimes abortions are necessary. And if we say we are not going to train doctors how to provide a range of women's health care services, then we are basically allowing women to bleed to death in the emergency rooms of this country. And I don't think that's what this Congress is about. It is certainly not what the medical profession is about.

I would urge just for reasons of mercy for this House to reject this amendment. It's mean-spirited and it's far, far beyond current law.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.


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