The Texas GOP introduced yet another anti-abortion bill that would give doctors the right to lie to their patients about their pregnancies. Texas Senate Bill 25, also known as the “wrongful births bill” has made its way to the Texas Senate floor, and would prevent lawsuits against doctors if a baby is born with a disability.
In reality, the bill allows doctors to withhold information about the risk of a disability from the parents, particularly in cases when the doctor thinks the individual might decide to have an abortion if provided with the information.
As of Feb. 1, 2017, the Guttmacher Institute reports 434 sexual and reproductive health provisions that have been introduced at the state-level. Four anti-abortion bills have been enacted. In Texas specifically, at least 6 abortion restrictions were in effect as of Jan. 1, including a requirement to receive and view an ultrasound before being allowed an abortion.
Margaret Johnson of the Texas League of Women Voters commented on the Texas bill. “This bill places a [sic] unreasonable restriction on the constitutional right of a woman to make an informed decision about whether or not to have an abortion,” Johnson said while testifying in opposition to the bill. “SB 25 is a not-so-subtle way to give medical personnel the opportunity to impose religious beliefs on women.”
The Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs passed the bill — which would legislate how much information a woman is allowed to receive about her own pregnancy — to the full Senate on Monday morning.
“It shouldn’t be the policy for the state of Texas to excuse doctors from lying to their patients,” said Blake Rocap, a policy advisor for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, during his testimony. “That’s what this bill does.”
Rachel Tiddle, who also testified in front of the committee after having unknowingly carried a fetus with serious abnormalities told the committee that if she had known, she would have explored options, such as experimental therapies. She argued, though, that “It’s not a doctor’s right to manipulate the family by lying.”
Tiddle asked the committee, “Don’t you think [this bill] creates a climate where doctors feel they have the right to impose their own moral beliefs?”