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Wolfe: ‘Wrongful birth’ law is a wrongheaded way to curb abortions

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

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