Sen. Stutts withdraws maternity stay bill

Sen. Stutts withdraws maternity stay bill

NORTH ALABAMA (WAFF) - Senator Larry Stutts announced Tuesday he is withdrawing his maternity stay Bill.

The bill would repeal a code that says insurance must cover a minimum stay of 48 hours in the hospital after a woman gives birth.

Stutts had said this is so women can leave earlier if they want to and the decision to leave would be decided between patient and doctor on a case-by-case basis.

The current law creates shared responsibility for the patient and doctor if the new mother wishes to be released early. This means the doctor must inform the woman of advantages and disadvantages of an early discharge.

One of the laws Stutts was pushing to repeal was named for a patient, Rose Church, who died in his care. Court records indicate Stutts as the doctor in a wrongful death suit filed by the woman's husband.

After her death, her husband, Gene Church, pushed for a new law which came to be called "Rose's Law."

In response to Stutts withdrawing the bill, Gene said, "I'm incredibly excited about this and very pleased that Larry Stutts decided to do the right thing in this instance by removing the bill. I certainly don't know what ultimately motivated him to do the right thing, but I'm certainly glad he did in this instance."

He said he was disappointed with the way Stutts handled it to begin with, but he is very happy with the outcome.

Gene also added:

“I want to be clear I don't think that the message is political in the sense that a lot of people do. I think that it doesn't matter whether you're talking about an official that's a republican or a democrat, a male or female, sometimes you have people who have their own personal agendas and we have responsibilities as citizens to step up and keep an eye on our elected officials and try to make certain that they do the right thing.”

Stutts was sponsoring SB 289, which would repeal a woman's legal right to remain in the hospital for 48 hours after a normal live birth and 96 hours if the birth was cesarean or presented a complication.

Several doctors weighed in on Stutts' bill  Dr. Jacqueline Sylvester said she wasn't sure why senators would feel the need to repeal either of the two state codes because she says those aren't creating any problems, and they help ensure a patient's health needs are being met.

Six senators co-sponsored the bill, including Jabo Waggoner, who withdrew his support of the bill Tuesday.

"The first day of the session, he was circulating the bill and without a full explanation," Waggoner said. "I did not realize the impact of it and did not know the background of it."

Tuesday afternoon, Senator Stutts released a statement. It reads, in full:

"A practicing OB-GYN for the last 25 years, I have dedicated my career to improving the health of women in Alabama. My wife, Jackie, and I have been married for 34 years. We have four adult children; three daughters, Elizabeth, Rebecca, and Sarah; and one son, Collins. Jackie and I have one grandson, and another grandchild expected in May. I would never support legislation that would be detrimental to the health of any woman or child.

"My sole intention with Senate Bill 289 was to re-center healthcare decisions between a patient and her doctor by limiting government mandates. Recent media attention has not conveyed this genuine intent.

"After careful consideration and feedback from my constituents, I realize this legislation isn't the best vehicle to achieve the original intent. Therefore, I am withdrawing SB289 and am comfortable with it not being considered in committee.

"Let me also say that neither the bill nor today's decision is related to any patient case I have had during my medical career, despite media insinuations to the contrary. I am proud of my 25 years serving my community and state as an OB-GYN, and I look forward to continue serving them both as a medical doctor and senator."

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