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Texas Could Let Doctors Mislead Patients To Try To Decrease Abortions

A Texas bill could allow doctors to leave out information about a baby's health if they think the diagnosis could lead to an abortion.
Posted at 10:07 PM, Mar 01, 2017

The Texas state legislature will soon debate a controversial bill that would protect doctors if they intentionally mislead some pregnant patients.

The so-called wrongful birth bill would shield doctors from lawsuits if they leave out information or lie to a patient about a pregnancy because they think the diagnosis could lead to an abortion.

The bill's author, Sen. Brandon Creighton, said the measure would prevent discrimination against children with disabilities. He believes it matches up with "a large majority of Texans and their values."

But opponents say the bill permits doctors to lie to patients with no consequences. They also say it could leave parents unprepared to deal with the medical expenses of caring for a child with a disability.

Margaret Johnson of the Texas League of Women Voters said, "This bill places an unreasonable restriction on the constitutional right of a woman to make an informed decision."

One woman who testified in front of the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs said this could make it difficult for children with disabilities to get the care they need. Rachel Tiddle delivered a stillborn child, and she said doctors hadn't told her the child had health problems. She said if she had known about the health issues, she would have tried experimental therapies to save the child.

The bill has yet to go to the full state legislature, but it already appears to be on shaky legal ground. 

In 1975, the Supreme Court ruled a Texas couple should be able to sue their doctor because he didn't tell them their child would be born with failing organs.