Texas Senate Bill 25, currently being sent to the House, is a horrible policy rooted in good intentions. SB 25 prevents parents from suing their physician if their child is born with abnormalities or severe health conditions – even if those are discovered during the pregnancy and hidden from the parents.
As it is currently on the books, parents can file a “wrongful birth” claim against their doctor if they can make the case that they were not properly warned about severe health conditions. In legal terms, “wrongful birth” would no longer be a cause of action in malpractice suits.
The concept is clear: Given disproportionately-high abortion rates for fetuses with abnormalities and disabilities (such as Down Syndrome), some physicians and Texas legislators are attempting to curb that trend. If you simply hide medical knowledge about severe health conditions then parents are less likely to terminate the pregnancy, or so the thought goes.
Although these conditions – and subsequent lawsuits – occur rarely, it’s worth considering whether this will improve medical care or serve as a veiled measure to restrict and reduce abortion. I find it horribly sad to watch the Down Syndrome population decline rapidly as expectant parents choose abortion instead of raising a child with unique needs, but this bill isn’t the way to change that cultural problem.
Read the full piece at Houston Chronicle
Hours after the Supreme Court released its 5-3 decision blocking unfair and unconstitutional abortion regulations in Texas, House Speaker Paul Ryan released a tweet condemning the court’s decision and promising to continue to “protect women’s health & promote life.”
This isn’t a surprising perspective from Ryan. It is a refrain that follows a long pattern of unprincipled policies by Ryan and his ilk of pro-life GOP politicians. Nevertheless, it requires a great deal of intellectual gymnastics to make sense of that opinion in light of his beliefs and the GOP platform more broadly.
It’s important to stare into the heart of the Whole Woman’s Health decision to see exactly how this is: “The plurality added that ‘[u]nnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion impose an undue burden on that right.’”
One might ask, “Unnecessary regulations? Where have I heard that before?” If one scrolls up just few tweets on Ryan’s Twitter page, the answer appears: “We need to take a smart approach that cuts down on needless regulations while making the rules we do need more efficient and effective, particularly for our small businesses that shoulder a disproportionate share of the federal regulatory burden.”
That’s from Ryan’s economic portion of “A Better Way,” the recently released policy platform guide for GOP lawmakers.
If one removes the particularities of the service in question — abortion and women’s health — the message within the GOP platform and the Supreme Court decision are one and the same: Needless regulations place an unfair and unconstitutional burden on the individual seeking services and the provider of those services. Why, then, does abortion change the equation?
Continue reading at Salon here.