After years of trying, Washington legislators appear poised to free up doctors at Catholic hospitals to provide medically necessary abortions when pregnancies go wrong.

The legislation would allow patients to sue a hospital if they are denied medical care to hasten miscarriages or terminate nonviable pregnancies that threaten their health. It also would allow providers to sue if they are disciplined after ending such pregnancies.

Supporters of the bill, The Protecting Pregnancy Act, point to dramatic instances when women nearly died or were turned away from emergency rooms because medical staff didn’t believe they were permitted to perform abortions.

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