Senate to weigh the fate of 'wrongful birth' lawsuits

2017-03-20 | Houston Chronicle

March 20--AUSTIN -- The state Senate plans to take up a bill Monday that would protect physicians whose actions or omissions led patients to give birth to babies with disabilities who otherwise would have been aborted.

The bill marks the latest move by anti-abortion advocates this year to change laws to limit abortion in Texas after losing ground on several laws cracking down on access to the procedure last year.

Coined the "wrongful birth" bill, Senate Bill 25 removes "wrongful birth" as a civil cause of action. Should the bill become law, critics argue it would give anti-abortion doctors protection to downplay the severity of fetal tests showing abnormalities in order to convince a woman or couple to carry the pregnancy to term. Opponents, who say the bill values the lives of the disabled, say doctors who act improperly still are subject to malpractice lawsuits.

This is the second time Texas lawmakers have tried to pass a "wrongful birth" bill. The bill won favor in a House committee in the 2015 legislative session, but it never advanced to the floor.

The Texas Senate may soon decide on a bill that prevents parents from suing their doctor if their baby is born with a disability -- a move abortion-rights supporters say will result in doctors lying to patients about the health of fetuses. Supporters of the measure, Senate Bill 25, say it is needed to protect doctors from "wrongful birth" lawsuits and to protect the rights of the disabled.

Media: WochIt Media

>>>Scroll through the above gallery to see the long, complex history Texas has with the issue of abortion