WASHINGTON — A bill introduced this week by U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., would restrict federal funding for health-care facilities that "don't respect human life and patient rights."
The first-term senator said the bill, called the "Patient Rights Act," attempts to put into law that unborn babies at the point of conception are "patients" and adds that it would also protect "all patients" including those at end of life.
"Patient rights are people's rights," he said in a video release. "This should apply to all patients whether it's unborn children, just-born children, or families who are forced to take loved ones off life support by hospital boards.
"Patients are granted inalienable rights by their creator and the government has to protect them accordingly," he said in the video.
The bill, anti-abortion in tone, would face an uphill battle in the Democrat-controlled U.S. House, but Cramer wasn't available for an interview on Wednesday night, June 26, to comment on its prospects.
The bill would apparently affect all health-care facilities, not just Planned Parenthood clinics or places where abortions are performed.
The restrictions would also apply to Medicaid and Medicare funding, along with other health-care benefit programs.
Language in the 10-page bill states that health-care practitioners must use "the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of any patient as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to a patient in a different state of functionality, development or degree of dependence."
Listed as the type of patients to be protected are the unborn, newly born, born prematurely, pregnant, elderly, mentally or physically disabled, terminally ill, comatose, vegetative state or "otherwise incapable of self-advocacy."
It would require that doctors not end the life any any patient through physician-assisted suicide or abortions. There would be an exception in the abortion category for when a mother's life is in danger.
Also banned would be "do-not-resuscitate orders" for patients without their consent or from the patient's authorized representative.