Today, the US House passed legislation---known to supporters as the "Protect Life Act" and to detractors as the "Let Women Die Act"---that would allow hospitals that receive any federal funding to turn away women seeking abortion for any reason, even if it means the woman will die.

Specifically, the bill would allow doctors and hospitals to “exercise their conscience” by allowing pregnant women whose lives will be threatened by carrying a fetus to term to die on a health care provider's floor.

The bill also resurrects an aspect of the health care law that was stricken as part of the (still heinous) Stupak-Pitts "compromise," barring federal funding for any insurance plan that provides abortions, even when women pay for that coverage separately.[pullquote]Seattle's largest nonprofit health-care provider, in other words, will no longer provide abortion services for patients at any of its nine campuses across the Puget Sound region.[/pullquote]

The bill will almost certainly never make it to the Senate floor. Still, it's a useful foil for some other appalling anti-choice news today,  this time out of Seattle: Regional hospital behemoth Swedish Medical Center, which is forming an alliance with Providence Health and Services, a Catholic Church-affiliated nonprofit, announced today that it would stop performing "elective" abortions (i.e. those that aren't necessary to protect the life or health of the woman) "out of respect for the affiliation" with the religious medical institution. Seattle's largest nonprofit health-care provider, in other words, will no longer provide abortion services for patients at any of its nine campuses across the Puget Sound region.

And if you do find yourself in need of an "elective" abortion, and are lucky enough to find a provider to perform it for you, you may be forced to listen to the fetus's heartbeat. Modeled on Michelle Bachmann's "Heartbeat Informed Consent Act," bills are being introduced in all 50 states to "make the heartbeat of the unborn child visible and audible to its mother as part of her informed consent.” A rudimentary heartbeat can usually be heard around five to six weeks after the end of a pregnant woman's last menstrual period.

So, in short: Ladies, don't get pregnant. If you do, be prepared to raise a child (with, of course, no help from the government---what are you, a welfare queen?) because that's the punishment your government feels is appropriate to inflict on you.