Bill to end 'wrongful birth' lawsuits headed to Texas Senate

Proposed bill bans 'wrongful birth' lawsuits

AUSTIN - The Senate Committee on State Affairs voted unanimously Monday to send Senate Bill 25 (SB25) to the full Senate for a vote.

SB25 removes "wrongful birth" as a cause of action, meaning lawsuits claiming this form of negligence can't be filed. 

The term "wrongful birth" stems from the 1975 Texas Supreme Court case Jacobs v. Thrimer. The parents of a child born with disabilities sued their doctor, claiming they were not warned that the child could be born with disabilities.

Wrongful birth lawsuits allow parents of a child born with disabilities to sue their doctor if they say they were not properly warned or counseled on the child's health, preventing them from seeking treatment or an abortion. 

 During Monday's hearing, supporters of SB25 testified the bill shows respect for all lives and protects doctors. 

"To be able to claim monetary damages because a child is born disabled when a physician has done everything necessary to provide a standard of care that's consistent with all other deliveries, is just egregious," said Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) who authored the bill. 

But opponents argue SB25 opens the door for doctors to keep vital information from patients with no recourse.

"So they certainly would still have a duty to provide the best care possible, but there would be no penalty for breaching that duty, right. They would not have to pay for the care of a special needs child or the care or damage that does to a family," said Blake Rocap, Legislative Council for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. 

Creighton said doctors will still be held to the same standard of care under SB25 and people can still sue doctors for negligence if they withhold information or fail to meet that standard. 

While some are labeling Creighton's bill as "anti-abortion" legislation, it received bipartisan support in the committee.

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