This past October, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 358, commonly known as the "Protect Life Act." Or at least that's what the Republicans call it. Women are calling it the "Let Women Die Act" and that's exactly what it will do should it become law.
H.R. 358 prevents women from paying for health insurance with abortion coverage with their own money. In addition, this bill overturns years and years of precedent guaranteeing people access to lifesaving emergency care, including abortion. It would allow insurance companies, medical facilities, doctors, or technicians who oppose abortion to simply let a woman die rather than give her a life-saving abortion.
This seems pretty simple to me: it's called human sacrifice. Republicans in the U.S. Congress (and in several state legislatures now considering the same measure) are quite willing to let a living, breathing, talking, walking, feeling, thinking woman die ... to save a fetus that may - or may not - be able to survive outside the womb.
Rick Santorum supports this bill and would like to see it become law in every state in the nation. That's rather remarkable since his wife, Karen, had a problem pregnancy in 1996 - and she's still alive because of an abortion. As Santorum told NPR's Terry Gross in a 2004 interview, his wife had to have surgery during the 19th week of her pregnancy. After the surgery, Karen suffered an extreme infection and the source of the infection was the fetus. Doctors told Santorum unless the source of the infection was removed, Karen would die. He was also told the fetus could not survive outside the womb.
There are two different stories about what happened next. According to the NPR interview, Santorum's wife went into labor as a result of the antibiotics, then doctors gave her a drug that further induced labor - yes, an abortion. But now some professionals (who, by the way, did not treat Mrs. Santorum) say the abortion was spontaneous.
Either way ... if Santorum and other GOP fanatics have their way, there will be other Karen Santorums - and their lives will be sacrificed. That's exactly what Rick Santorum wants: a ban on all abortions with NO exceptions whatsoever. And that's what H.R. 358 mandates: NO exceptions.
I'd like to know how many men would agree to watch their wives, daughters, sisters, girlfriends die instead of receiving a life-saving abortion. It's one thing to say you're against abortion. Go ahead ... beat your chest and bloviate all you want about the "sanctity of life." But when it comes right down to it and you're in a hospital room with a woman you love who will die without an abortion ... just what will you do?