There is no rest for women in Texas.
Just months after finalizing a mandate that would require medical facilities to provide burials or interments for embryonic material and remains from abortions or miscarriages (it has since been blocked by a Federal Judge in Austin), the Texas Senate Committee of State Affairs has drafted another controversial bill with the potential to undermine a woman’s bodily autonomy.
Texas Senate Bill 25 stipulates that “damages may not be awarded, on behalf of any person, based on the claim that but for the act or omission of another, a person would not have been permitted to have been born alive but would have been aborted.” It aims to prevent “Wrongful Birth” litigation by providing doctors special protection from parents whose children are born with a disability.
The legislation masquerades as a means of defending innocent doctors who fail to detect Down syndrome and other abnormalities. While it is true many birth abnormalities go undetected, and some parents who are suffering may look for a scapegoat, abortion rights activists have argued SB 25 would legally permit physicians with moral agendas to lie to patients.
It would not be the first time pregnant women were lied to by a proselytizing individual.
Crisis Pregnancy Centers, institutions intended to be a place of information for pregnant women, have been infiltrated by pro-life extremists who spread medically unsound lies such as abortion causes breast cancer; condoms do not work; birth control and the morning after pill cause abortions, etc.
“It shouldn’t be the policy for the state of Texas,” Blake Rocap, policy adviser for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas said to the Austin Chronicle, “to excuse doctors from lying to their patients, but that’s what this bill does.”
In fact, during a line of questioning regarding SB 25, Rachel Tiddle (a woman who unknowingly carried a fetus with severe abnormalities to term, resulting in a stillborn) asked the committee, “Don’t you think this creates a climate where doctors feel they have the right to impose their own moral beliefs?”
And she was met with silence.
Their silence does not ease the heartbreak of the parents who learn their newborn will suffer.
Their silence does not alleviate the egregious costs of caring for a disabled or special needs child, which could force low-income families further into poverty.
Their silence does not care for the disabled or special needs children who may be abandoned in foster care due to the parents’ inability to meet their needs.
As it currently exists, SB 25 poses a potential threat to pro-life and pro-choice men and women.