Doctors should give a parent all the information on their fetus
The newly proposed Senate Bill 25 that would eliminate a patient’s right to sue doctors who withhold information about abnormalities in a fetus passed the Texas Senate with a 21-9 vote.
This effectively enacts a figurative Pandora’s Box of issues: giving birth to a stillborn baby, abortion rights and allowing a parent to prepare for a child with health problems. The bill, which made it to the Texas House March 22, actively destroys valuable parts of reproductive rights policies.
Brandon Creighton — the author of the bill — claims to have written it to challenge the idea that “it is unacceptable that doctors can be penalized for embracing the sanctity of life,” reports the Huffington Post.
The bill was written to protect doctors from lawsuits resulting form not disclosing information to the patient by choice or their own misstep. This has pro-life undertones. It allows doctors to pick and choose the information to disclose about the fetus in order to hinder the patient’s personal choices regarding the pregnancy.
There are so few malpractice suits in Texas, one must consider the alternative reasons for bringing forth such legislation: preventing pregnant women from accessing abortion care when they need it.
This bill has the potential to further limit a woman’s autonomy.
When you take away the abortion access issue from the legislation, you’re left with the fact that doctors who are embracing the sanctity of life over the patient’s health are risking the life of the patient.
When a child is born, if the parent is not told about the fetus’ possible issues, the parent may be unequipped to handle the medical treatment the baby would require. If the doctor believes a woman may abort the fetus and chooses to then not tell the woman about fetal abnormalities, the doctor is effectively lying by omission. This lie could leave parents in over their head, unable to pay for the care their child needs.
If SB 25 passes, Texas will join the nine other states that currently employ a wrongful birth law.
These bills take steps to impede a woman’s ability to sue a doctor for litigation. The lines seem to be blurring between separation of church and state and it now looks like the U.S. needs to implement a separation of church and patient care as well.
What you practice in your faith should never affect the quality and amount of information that you give your patient as a doctor. Ultimately, the person the doctor is treating will make the final decision about their health and their body. That person also has things they believe. Just because they do not hold the doctor’s beliefs does not dictate the doctor to make decisions for them. The doctor needs to give that person the full amount of information in order to make their decision.
If nothing else, this proposed law should infuriate people simply because it allows doctors to consciously and actively withhold information from their patient. Once we allow lying by omission, where does it stop?
Columnist Jackie Wostrel is a public relations freshman and can be [email protected]