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Labor and Delivery

Previously, these regulations, and many state emergency care laws, referred to women in labor or active labor. Hospitals and physicians who did not want to care for pregnant women who presented in the emergency room set up elaborate requirements around the definition of labor. A woman with premature rupture of membranes is at high risk for a bad outcome, but she might be turned away because she was not in labor. Neither Congress nor the regulatory authorities were tolerant of these subterfuges. The regulations are now clear and explicit. If a pregnant woman presents for care, she must receive any care needed to protect her health or the health of the unborn child. If she is having contractions, she must be delivered unless there is compelling medical indication for a transfer. If she refuses transfer, she must be delivered at the original hospital.

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