Today in Trying-To-Control-Your-Uterus News, the Texas Senate passed a bill Monday that will effectively revoke the right of parents to sue doctors who do not tell parents about fetal abnormalities, according the San Antonio Express News. The controversial Senate Bill 25 was passed with a 21-9 vote.
As Refinery29 reports, wrongful birth suits give parents the right to sue any doctor who misled them or didn’t give them good advice. And this bill, written by Texas State Sen. Brandon Creighton, would take away that right—allowing doctors to lie to parents about a fetus’s health without retribution, if they think the parents might get an abortion. The San Antonio Current notes that malpractice suits against Texas doctors are rare, so this law is clearly meant to target abortion rather than protect doctors.
The bill has many opponents, who stress that when expectant parents don’t have all the details of their fetus’s health, they can’t make informed decisions about the child they are expecting. “SB 25 is a not so subtle way to give medical personnel to opportunity to impose religious beliefs on women,” Margaret Johnson of the Texas League of Women Voters said.
Many see the bill as an attempt to chip away at abortion rights, as Texas is a conservative state. In fact, the House representative who will sponsor the bill admitted as much to reporters, calling it a “pro-life” in an interview with Dallas News. Rep. Ron Simmons even said that the bill isn’t addressing a real problem, but that it “pre-empts there being a problem.” He’s said he will focus on the pro-life angle to sell the bill, as he doesn’t believe abortion should be an option if doctors spot a disability during pregnancy (it’s not really your choice if you don’t intend on caring for the children, but whatever).
SB 25 is one of many recently introduced bills which seek to restrict and control access to reproductive rights and health. The bill must pass the House and be signed by the governor in order to become law. If passed, Texas will join the nine states that currently have wrongful birth laws on file which restrict parents’ right to litigation.