The Republican-dominated Texas Senate today passed a bill that allows medical doctors to withhold information from pregnant women after routine pre-natal testing about the condition of their fetus and the potential for bearing a child with birth defects.
This is the latest in a multi-year string of laws designed to limit or eliminate the right of women and families to make free choices about whether to keep a baby full term or legally abort it.
If passed as expected, Senate Bill 25 would take away a patient’s right to sue a doctor who doesn’t tell them about the true condition of the child or lies to them about it. In other words, they can’t sue a medical provider after a child is born with disabilities even when the doctor knew in advance that there was a problem and didn’t inform them.
Critics call it the “wrongful birth bill,” and say it would allow a doctor who is opposed to abortion to do less testing, downplay the resulting medical information or choose to just outright mislead the patient.
Advocates say that it is a way for them to protect disabled children from being aborted due to the sanctity of life and that it will take away the possibility of unnecessary or frivolous lawsuits.
Heather Busby, executive director of NARL Pro-Choice Texas, said it is “another thinly veiled attempt to prevent Texans from accessing their constitutional right to abortion.”
The bill, which passed the Senate along party lines, where the Republicans have a large advantage, clearly is another assault on a woman’s rights. It next goes to the state Assembly and then must be signed by the Republican governor, which is likely.
Texas is not the only state with laws designed to restrict abortion even in extreme cases, but it has been a leader in creating ever more restrictions, with male-dominated legislators and governors making it ever harder for women to control their own bodies, and make choices that are right for their family.
This bill is the latest egregious example of how politics and religion trump human rights.