A bill introduced in the Texas State Senate was cleared to pass on to the House for evaluation on Tuesday. Critics of the measure, known now as SB 25, claim that it lets doctors lie to patients about fetal abnormalities. The underlying intent of the bill is preventing abortions from taking place.
Sponsored by State Senator Brandon Creighton, SB 25 would outlaw “wrongful birth” lawsuits. Free from the possibility of legal action, physicians would be under no obligation to inform their patients of potential fetal anomalies.
An exploratory article penned and published in The Washington Post highlights how the protections of SB 25 could hurt expectant mothers.
Rachel Tittle shared her experience with the Post. Excited about becoming an expectant mother, she was shocked to find out that her child had an abdomen full of fluid. The baby was diagnosed with an illness called congenital Cytomegalovirus Infection (CMV) – a common illness which can be transmitted from mother to child. Symptoms aren’t always readily detectable.
Unborn babies who contract CMV can go on to live normal and healthy lives, while others, like Tittle’s, die soon after birth. Survivors can suffer from a range of audial and mental impairments, hampering their ability to live a full and wholesome life.
Tittle didn’t blame her doctors for not catching the illness earlier; they did all they could to save the infant. Ultimately, the experimental procedure a team of physicians performed wasn’t enough to save the baby.
However, Rachel Tittle is worried that SB 25 could other women in situations similar to her own. She believes that if her baby had been diagnosed earlier on, then there might have been a chance to save it.
Giving healthcare providers immunity from “wrongful death” lawsuits would let physicians not only try to block abortions, but bar them from facing consequences when they fail to notice conditions which should have been apparent to the trained eye.
The Washington Post writes that “prenatal tests,” which examine fetuses for possible defects, can serve to prod women into getting abortions they might not have had otherwise. Doctors who recommend keeping a baby could be sued if a parent followed their advice but has an infant die shortly afterward.
Opponents of the bill have criticized Texas’s already “draconian” anti-abortion laws and are fearful that SB 25 will give pro-life doctors impetus to cover up defects in an effort to further their own moral cause.
Creighton says critics needn’t be worried.
“Expectant parents should not be worried. The legislation does not impact their ability for recourse under the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code, which allows for lawsuits claiming fraud and gross negligence.
“Physicians who act unethically, or knowingly withhold information from patients can be sued,” Creighton, who is the bill’s sponsor, explained.