By Kim Schwartz, Texas Right to Life
A pro-abortion group, the Center for Reproductive Rights, sued the State of Texas on Tuesday asking the court to weaken its laws protecting preborn children using the stories of five women.
Pro-Life policies already plainly allow doctors to intervene if the life of the mother is in danger, however the lawsuit claims the law is to blame for practitioners being misinformed. The fact is that based on the doctor’s reasonable medical judgment the medical threat could be foreseen and thus Texas law allows them to act immediately to protect the woman. Pro-Life policies do not require physicians to delay necessary care until the danger is imminent in order to treat a mother.
Doctors in at least two of the stories cited in the case misunderstood the law or were misled by pervasive, inaccurate, and irresponsible reporting from the media.
Texas Right to Life has been urging medical associations to inform physicians and hospitals about what the law actually says rather than leaving their doctors confused about what is permitted and prohibited. While our Pro-Life laws are straightforward about what constitutes an abortion and when a physician should intervene for a medical emergency threatening the life of a pregnant mother, there has been a breakdown in the implementation of those policies under our pre-Roe and Trigger Laws.
Two of the five women on the lawsuit faced heartbreaking circumstances in which their doctors neglected to follow the standard of care, declining to intervene until they became so sick that they could have died. This was not required by Texas law.
The harm these mothers suffered is not due to legislation but the failure of medical associations and government agencies to provide proper guidelines to physicians.
Three of the mothers on the lawsuit did not face life-threatening conditions but learned their children had either severe disabilities or life-limiting illnesses. Preborn children with critical health conditions are just as worthy of the Right to Life as any other human being. Each baby is uniquely beautiful, and they should continue to be honored and protected in law no matter how long or short their lives may be. Texas Right to Life has long promoted perinatal palliative care as the compassionate and Pro-Life response to many of these heartbreaking fetal diagnoses.
This lawsuit does not ask the Travis County judge to block Texas’ abortion laws but seeks to add wide exceptions that would cause innocent lives in our state to be lost to abortion. Adding loopholes and endangering more lives is not the answer to life-threatening complications, which are already addressed in law, nor does violently ending a child’s life because of a disability.
Pregnant women and preborn children deserve better. Texas Right to Life continues to call for medical associations to provide guidance and clarification to our medical professionals so our state can keep protecting all preborn children while not needlessly putting their mothers’ lives at risk.