The Texas Senate passed a bill on Monday that would affirm the value of babies with special needs by prohibiting so-called “wrongful birth” lawsuits.
State Sen. Brandon Creighton, who sponsored Texas Senate Bill 25, said the legislation will help prevent doctors from promoting abortion for unborn babies diagnosed with abnormalities out of fear of a malpractice lawsuit, the Texas Tribune reports.
“Children born with disabilities ought to have the same rights as any abled person,” Creighton said in February. “Their rights are just as important as others.”
The bill passed in a 21-9 vote Monday, the Associated Press reports. It moves to the state House for consideration.
Opponents have raised concerns that the legislation would allow doctors to withhold information about an unborn child’s condition or even lie to the parents; but Creighton and others said this is not true.
Here’s more from the AP:
Creighton says doctors still would have to disclose all important information to patients, who also can still sue for negligence. But he says doctors wouldn’t be liable for delivering disabled children, thus discouraging abortions.
Opponents warn of physicians imposing “their own morality” on patients.
Lawyer Kelsey Hazzard of Secular Pro-Life said the claims that doctors will be allowed to lie to patients are just “nonsensical.” She explained why here, and referred to this quote by Jennifer Allmon in the Texas Tribune:
We believe that a lawsuit that begins as its premise that “we should’ve had the opportunity to kill our disabled child” sends a terrible message to those disabled children in Texas. To hold a physician financially responsible for a disability he did not cause presumes a level of control over human development that physicians and parents simply do not have.
Nine states currently ban wrongful birth lawsuits and two others are considering legislation to ban them, according to Hazzard’s research.
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Parents have won millions of dollars in “wrongful birth” lawsuits involving children born with various ailments or disabilities. In the 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.
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.
“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.