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Texas Law Would Permit Doctors to Lie to Patients About the Health of Their Fetuses

Everyone should be highly skeptical of state-sponsored eugenics.

TexasCapitolCrackerclipDreamstimeCrackerclipTexas state Sen. Charles Creighton (R) has introduced Senate Bill 25 that would eliminate the tort of wrongful birth. As FindLaw explains:

Doctors have a duty to inform their patients about any known risks or complications involved in a pregnancy. Failing to do so can expose healthcare professionals to liability for medical malpractice. Plaintiffs in a wrongful birth lawsuit often claim that because they didn't have the medical information necessary to make an informed decision on whether to conceive or to carry a fetus to term, their child was born with significant birth defects.

The new Senate bill reads:

A cause of action may not arise, and damages may not be awarded, on behalf of any person based on the claim that but for the act or omission of another, a person would not have been permitted to have been born alive but would have been aborted.

During the hearing on the bill, opponents argued that it would enable doctors to substitute their moral views for those of their patients.

SB 25 is a not-so-subtle way of giving medical personnel the opportunity to impose the religious beliefs on pregnant women by withholding information about the condition of their fetus and depriving them of making an informed decision about continuing with their pregnancy, Margaret Johnson, speaking on behalf of League of Women Voters of Texas, according to KTLA television. ... Waco resident Cheryl Foster [added]: SB 25 is a flagrant admission of guilt on the part of Texas state lawmakers in their efforts to control women's lives. This Legislature has been on a mission to strip women of their reproductive rights, and this bill acknowledges that you do not want to be held accountable for your actions.

At the hearing, the bill's chief sponsor Sen. Creighton explained he believed that current law encourages doctors to promote abortion as way to avoid litigation. He said:

There's also concern without the bill being passed that physicians may advise in way just to prevent being sued personally. They may provide advice that is improper just to avoid litigation.

Improper advice? Telling a woman about the health of her fetus is not advice; it's medical information. Physicians are in no way precluded from explaining options to the prospective parents. For example, parents who are against abortion could use the information to arrange for better care after the birth of their disabled infants. As background, it turns out that at least a third of parents whose fetuses are prenatally diagnosed with Down's syndrome choose not to terminate their pregnancies.

Finally, proponents of the bill countered that patients to whom physicians have lied would still be able to sue for gross negligence and malpractice.

Everyone should be highly skeptical of state-sponsored eugenics, that is, government officials making decisions about how its citizens are allowed to reproduce. One partial solution to this problem would be for obstetricians to tell all patients during their initial consultations about their moral views on abortion, and let patients decide then to which physicians they would prefer to go.

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  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    "One partial solution to this problem would be for obstetricians to tell all patients during their initial consultations about their moral views on abortion, and let patients decide then to which physicians they would prefer to go."

    I like this. In general, I am pro-abortion in the sense that I think it should be legal.

    It seems to me that what the law is meant to address is the problem created by the attitude that the doctor's diagnosis of a developing fetus is DATA. It isn't it is an opinion. An informed opinion, but not a fact. Tests can make it closer to factual, but the results will always be an interpretation. A doctor should not be liable for an informed opinion unless it can be shown that the opinion is far outside the range of reasonable interpretation.

    The core problems are the tendency to sue over everything, combined with the way the medical profession wants to be regarded as a kind of anointed priesthood. It's hard to make room in the law for honest mistakes when the doctors are supposed (by the law) to be infallible.

  • Intelligent Mr Toad||

    It's not eugenics.

    Neither aborting disabled fetuses, nor allowing docs to lie about fetal conditions, is eugenics!

    Aborting disabled fetuses is not eugenics, because it is done in order to help patients avoid unpleasant personal experiences, not in order to improve the human gene pool.

    Allowing docs to lie about fetal conditions is not eugenics, because it does not improve the human gene pool either; its effect is DYSgenic.

  • ||

    Allowing docs to lie about fetal conditions is not eugenics, because it does not improve the human gene pool either; its effect is DYSgenic.

    What I'm hearing is that, in Texas, two black lesbians, one biologically male, the other biologically female, can now legally give birth to a white gay girl with a penis.

    *And* that Reason is opposed to it.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    GOP filled with authoritarian Aborto-Freaks = obvious news.

  • DenverJ||

    You know who else practiced eugenics?

  • Marty Comanche||

    Dr John H. Bell?

  • Salyu||

    Are you talking about Hitler? Because the U.S. was doing it before his time.

  • See.More||

    Lying about fetal condition == fraud... no?

  • Jerryskids||

    Mamas. don't let your babies grow up to be Cowboys,
    Don't let them cheer Romo or other dumb fucks.
    Let 'em be Raiders or Broncos or such.
    Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Cowboys
    'Cos they'll never win playoffs and they're one-and-done
    Even when home at the dome.

  • Jake Stone||

    6/10, would boot-tap to this one again. Loss of 4 because because "Broncos" come from Denver.

  • Jake Stone||

    I stand corrected, on a second reading I get the point.

    Ironically, news out of Denver today suggests Romo will likely be a Bronco soon anyway.

    So in conclusion, my balls hang low and they wobble to and fro.

  • Bob K||

    Hail to the Deadskins
    Hail Misery
    Naives on a Poor Path
    Fight for Mediocracy

  • Rhywun||

    admission of guilt on the part of Texas state lawmakers in their efforts to control women's lives

    Yeah, that's what it's about. Is it any wonder that so many people are turned off by this whole goddamned issue.

  • wef||

    "their fetuses" not "their unborn children"

    virtuous terminology

  • Brandybuck||

    Undifferentiated tissue mass

  • MikeP2||

    "At the hearing, the bill's chief sponsor Sen. Creighton explained he believed that current law encourages doctors to promote abortion as way to avoid litigation."

    You don't really argue against this point, Ron. I think you are knee-jerking a response that this touches on abortion, without really thinking through the above point. I had this exact experience where an obstetrician was lobbying my wife and I very hard for a selective reduction of twins because she was claiming that it increased the odds of a healthy birth. She had us in tears, leaning on us very hard, essentially implying that we were idiots to ignore her "advice". And no, it wasn't medical information....it was lobbying.
    I'm an engineer, my wife a chemist. We asked for the literature an studies on success rates/risks. Guess what. The medical research articles clearly showed there was no benefit to selective reduction with twins. The risks were a wash.

    So.....either we were more learned than the doctor on this about the very articles she gave us....or she had an agenda that failed because she gave primary medical research to people who could actually understand it.

    I think she was looking at the risk to her stats that the higher risk pregnancy could impact. The risk of a selective reduction wouldn't hit her 'numbers' as it would be another doctor. I wouldn't be surprised at all if doctors lie all the time about medical information and 'advice' to avoid litigation or other impacts on their career.

  • MikeP2||

    So, are we to believe that no doctors are advocating for abortions of at-risk babies to minimize the potential ramifications of a birth of a Down's baby or similar.

    Let's say a doctor looks at an ultrasound (which are not 100% accurate in assessing issues) and the parents do not want the amnio which has a known risk. The doctor sees a possible indication of developmental issues.
    What percentage of those doctors advise abortion to avoid getting sued by parents burdened with a baby with problems? It certainly isn't non-zero. It may be quite high.

    So here we have tort reform to allow doctors to provide factual assessments and information to patients without risk of being sued. How is that not a 'win'?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I've been through that scenario myself. One of our children had a positive on the triple test. They didn't tell us the test result, just set up a meeting with a counselor. She told us the test showed a positive for downs and that my wife had to get an amnio. She was nonplussed when we told her no, and pushed pretty hard to change our minds. But I had done some research, and knew that the risk based on the test result (which we did not get until the meeting) was far smaller than the risk of spontaneous abortion, or other complications from the amnio. But the only reason I knew that was because I had found out for myself.

    At the time the whole thing seemed kind of weird, but as a way for the hospital and doctors to mitigate risk, it makes perfect sense.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Holy fck. A selective reduction of TWINS?

    Wife and I went through the fertility circus and had docs tell us they would recommend a selective reduction if 3 or more implanted. The ones we liked best simply said they would only implant 2.

  • MikeP2||

    yeh....My wife was older, firstborn was premature, and she was labeled as 'high risk', although there were no direct medical reasons. The first preemie had no identified cause.

    Doc wanted to abort one and pushed us hard. I expect to pad her healthy birth stats. (Top obstetrician in our area...best stats, reviews, etc. funny that.) Risks of a selective reduction and the risk of not carrying to term were the same. She was intentionally misleading us. A monster.

    Twins are healthy boys now.

  • AdamJ||

    You guys seem to be conflating 2 problems. its a bill saying doctors don't have to share information with their patients. The problem with doctors lobbying patients for abortions is a separate issue. This bill does not solve the problem you are describing.

  • Ron Bailey||

    A: Yes.

  • Jake Stone||

    Even better, how about all aspects of the government get the flying fuck out of personal medical decisions that their fat rotting noses have no business being stuck in? Was that never an option?

  • BYODB||

    Isn't the entire point of Planned Parenthood to cull a certain group of people from the general population, I.E. 'Eugenics', to improve the genetic makeup of the U.S.? I mean, if you look at their statistics it's hard to believe they're doing anything other than exactly what Sanger said they were for. Am I wrong?

  • Generic_Kate||

    I live in Texas, and regarding conflict of interest with physicians, my employer provided healthcare in-network provider is a Catholic hospital system. Where I live is fairly rural, but there is an alternative, non-network option, however only one, and I believe they are Baptist affiliated. Nevertheless, the paperwork and b.s. involved in going out of network to get my tubes tied is a kafkaesque nightmare (although technically I am allowed because the Catholics don't like it for religious reasons, but United Healthcare just doesn't like paying for things), and I can't even begin to imagine what it would be if there was even the insinuation of a possible abortion. That said, I was pregnant in 2015, and they did provide all the latest and greatest genetic and marker testing for downs syndrome and other birth defects (although a discussion of what would be the penultimate choice from the results of said tests was skillfully avoided). I only say this to inform the conversation. The reality on the ground isn't as medieval as it may immediately appear to outsiders, but there is still a WHOLE LOT going on that doesn't make me feel like I can sleep soundly on the laurels that this is all political theater or lip service to the religious right to appease.

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