Alabama state Sen. Larry Stutts (R) wants to repeal a woman’s legal right to remain in a hospital for at least two days after giving birth — a law legislators passed almost two decades ago after one of Stutts’s patients died of complications of a pregnancy.
Rose Church gave birth to a healthy baby girl in 1998; she was released from the hospital 36 hours later. She had to return to the hospital a day and a half after that to receive four units of blood, caused by internal bleeding. She was discharged again, but she died a day and a half after that.
Stutts was Church’s doctor. He was named in a wrongful death suit filed by her husband, Gene. (They settled out of court.) Gene Church brought their child, Logan, to the state Capitol to campaign for the minimum-stay requirement; local news reports at the time credit Logan’s presence for the law, which passed unanimously in 1999.
The Alabama Political Reporter first highlighted Stutts’s bill, and the background of the measure that became “Rose’s law.” The law gives women the legal right to remain in the hospital for up to 48 hours after a normal live birth and up to 96 hours after a complicated birth, such as one that required a Caesarean section.
Stutts said in a post on his Facebook page that he’s trying to get the legislature out of the doctor-patient relationship.
“I am proud to say that I am hard at work removing one-size-fits-all Obamacare-style laws from the books in Alabama,” Stutts said. “Let me be clear: My goal is to make sure our Legislature stays in Montgomery where it belongs and out of the exam room.”
Stutts has attracted six Republican co-sponsors for the bill. The bill also repeals a state requirement that physicians notify women in writing if a mammogram shows evidence of dense tissue, which can be an early sign of breast cancer.
That law was introduced by state Sen. Roger Bedford (D), whose wife was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months after a mammogram failed to detect it. Stutts defeated Bedford in 2014.