Politics

El Paso doctor backs 'wrongful birth' bill preliminarily approved by Texas Senate

El Paso doctor backs 'wrongful birth'...

EL PASO, Texas - The Texas Senate has preliminarily approved a "wrongful birth" bill Monday that would stop parents from suing doctors when their child is born with severe disabilities.

Senate Bill 25, proposed by Republican Senator Brandon Creighton, was approved 21-9, and just needs one additional vote before it's sent to The House of Representatives. 

El Paso doctor Andres Enriquez said he is in favor of this bill to protect fellow physicians, and help the community. 

"Along the border for El Paso, we're going to have less doctors who are going to tend to these high-risk pregnancies," said Dr. Enriquez. "What happens to a high-risk pregnancy? She's 40-years-old, she's pregnant, possibly could -- 'I don't want to touch her. I don't want to see her because you know she might sue me!'"

On February 27, powerful testimonies were heard from people who shared their experiences with pregnancies and and disabled children. 

Rachel Tittle was one of those people. She said, initially her pregnancy seemed fine. 

"By the time we knew there was a problem with my pregnancy it was too late," said Tittle. "If we had known sooner, there was an experimental fetal therapy that could've saved the baby's life. The therapy would have given our family a second chance, but this bill takes that chance away."

For others speaking out about Senate Bill 25, like Executive Director for the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops Jennifer Allmon, promoting the legislation was an issue of morals. 

"We believe that a lawsuit, that begins as its premise, that we should have have the opportunity to kill our disabled child sends a terrible message to those disabled children in Texas," said Allmon.

The bill doesn't lessen the responsibilities of physicians. 

"Senate Bill 25 is certainly about holding doctors responsible for their actions, but not holding them liable for a disability they had no part in causing," said Sen. Creighton. 

A liability El Paso doctor Andres Enriquez said parents need to mind when bringing a child into the world. 

"Educate yourself," said Dr. Enriquez.  "Don't just say 'well the doctor didn't tell me, I'm going to sue him.' Find out about your family history, find out if there's any risks of you having an abnormal birth."

The issue stems from the 1975 Texas Supreme Court case Jacobs v. Theimer, when the court ruled parents were entitled to damages covering the extra cost of raising a child with disabilities after doctors neglected to fully inform them about problems with the pregnancy.

 

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