Texas lawmakers are considering a new bill that would affirm the value of babies with disabilities.
On Monday, a state Senate committee approved legislation that would prohibit medical malpractice lawsuits commonly known as “wrongful birth,” according to The Dallas Morning News.
Parents have won millions of dollars in “wrongful birth” lawsuits involving children born with various ailments or disabilities. In such cases, parents argue that they would have aborted their child if their doctor had not been negligent in diagnosing the child’s health problems or counseling them on their options before the child’s birth.
A spokesperson for the Texas Medical Board said these types of lawsuits are very uncommon in Texas; but proponents of the bill argued the measure would be a protection against possible future lawsuits.
Here’s more from the report:
Sen. Brandon Creighton, the author of the bill, said allowing the lawsuits could encourage doctors to seek out every possible disability and even promote abortions to avoid litigation. He also said he takes issue with the idea that there are “wrongful” births.
“Children born with disabilities ought to have the same rights as any abled person,” said Creighton, R-Conroe. “Their rights are just as important as others.”
Nine states have enacted bans on wrongful-birth lawsuits, including Arizona, South Dakota and Indiana. In Texas, medical malpractice attorneys say the lawsuits are rare, even nonexistent.
Abortion activists already are speaking out against the legislation. Margaret Johnson of the pro-abortion Texas League of Women Voters claimed the bill could restrict abortions, according to the report.
“Eliminating the wrongful-birth claim is an unreasonable restriction on the constitutional right of a woman, in consultation with her physician and family members, to make an informed decision about whether or not to have an abortion,” Johnson said.
Texas Alliance for Life supports the bill. Executive Director Joe Pojman told the Senate committee that these lawsuits wrongly make doctors “accountable for disabilities they had no part in creating,” the report states.
Though “wrongful birth” cases seem like something out of a dystopian novel, they have become more common in the past few years.
In 2013, a Washington state couple won $50 million in a lawsuit after they argued they were denied information that could have led them to abort their disabled baby, LifeNews reported. The Seattle Times reported the couple knew based on their family medical history they were at a 50-50 chance of having children suffering from a rare but debilitating genetic disorder called “unbalanced chromosome translocation,” but a genetic test failed to detect the disorder in their unborn baby.
In 2014, an Illinois mother also sued her doctor, claiming that he botched her tubal ligation and it led to the birth of her daughter who has sickle cell disease.
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“Wrongful birth and wrongful life lawsuits are just plain wrong,” pro-life blogger Rebecca Taylor previously wrote at LifeNews.
“The wrongful birth suit is brought by the parents of a sick or disabled child against a physician that, the parents say, was negligent. The wrongful birth lawsuit does not say that the doctor caused the disease or disability, which would be a valid reason to sue. Instead the wrongful birth lawsuit claims the that doctor failed to inform the parents of the illness or disability of the child and that had they known, they would have aborted their child.
“In other words, the parents are saying we wish our child was dead. Because he or she is not, the doctor has to pay,” Taylor wrote.