DR. SUSAN BERRY, 15 July 2019
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has re-released guidance to all of its regional centers informing them that hospitals are required to examine and treat babies who survive abortion as well as those born prematurely.
The branch of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) again issued the guidance that restates regulations associated with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) and the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act of 2002.
“The guidance clarifies that all infants at the point of birth are legal persons,” said Dr. Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), in a statement. “This protection has been part of existing law for decades yet has been either ignored or not enforced, allowing children born after abortion to be set aside to die from neglect, or actively killed.”
Hospitals that receive reimbursement through the Medicare program must provide medical screening to women in labor, their unborn children, and newborns protected by the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act when they present to emergency rooms.
All babies in emergency situations, including those who survive abortion, must receive stabilizing treatment at these hospitals and transfer to another specialized hospital if stabilization cannot be achieved.
CMS stresses that concerns about a hospital’s compliance with the regulations “can be reported to the State Survey Agency or the CMS Regional Office for evaluation and possible investigation.”
“Complaints can be generated by patients, family members, healthcare professionals, and other interested parties,” the agency says, adding that while enforcement of EMTALA is a “complaint driven process,” EMTALA is not, however, “a mechanism for immediate response at the time of any occurrence, in this instance at the time of delivery of a born-alive infant.”
“As long as U.S. law fails to acknowledge the human dignity of our most vulnerable patients, none of us should consider our own rights truly secure,” said Dr. Michelle Cretella, executive director of the American College of Pediatricians. “CMS’s firm stand against infanticide is a step in the right direction.”