By Kim Schwartz, Texas Right to Life
Today the Texas House Public Health Committee passed the Respecting Texas Patients’ Right to Life Act (HB 2609 by Representative Tan Parker).
The committee had heard moving testimony in support of HB 2609 on April 14 from bioethics experts and families victimized by current law. One of whom was Mike Woelfel. Mr. Woelfel shared how the 10-Day Rule was invoked to abuse and end the life of his young son.
He explained that the “torturous, callous, and immoral nature of the 10-Day Law” allows families to be pushed aside and told they have no say in the care and treatment of their loved ones.
Hannah Mehta, president of Protect TX Fragile Kids, shared the testimony of a South Texas family whose daughter was given 10 days to live when she was 5 weeks old. The 10-Day Rule forced the family to fight desperately for the life of their daughter. The family was berated and told they were making their daughter suffer needlessly and that they would “watch her die a horrible death.”
The 10-Day Rule would have ended her life. Now their daughter is 7 years old and lives a “wonderful, full life.”
Bobby Schindler, brother of Terri Schiavo and president of the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network, also testified in support of HB 2609. Mr. Schindler stated that the 10-Day Rule incentivizes the healthcare system to impose death on vulnerable patients. As Mr. Schindler pointed out, “no other state has laws as egregious as Texas laws, which violate the patient’s constitutional Right to Life and right to due process.”
Prior to passing HB 2609, the Texas House committee also passed a bill Monday to protect Pro-Life doctors from being forced to participate in life-ending procedures (HB 1424 by Representative Tom Oliverson, M.D.).
This marks the unprecedented accomplishment of having every Pro-Life Priority of a session pass out of a House committee.
Texas Right to Life Senior Legislative Associate Rebecca Parma responded to today’s vote, “Texas Right to Life applauds the representatives who voted in favor of ending the 10-Day Rule and Chairwoman Stephanie Klick for her leadership. We also thank Representative Parker for authoring and shepherding this life-saving bill out of committee.”The next step is for the House Committee on Calendars to schedule the Pro-Life Priority Bills on the House floor for a vote by the full body. Texans must urge their state representatives to ask House leadership to schedule these bills for a vote quickly as 33 days remain in the session.