Earlier this week, lawmakers in Texas advanced Senate Bill 25, a bill that would allow doctors to not tell pregnant patients if something is wrong wth their unborn child. Why? Because it’s possible that if you know that there are fetal abnormalities — ranging from severe disabilities to the possibility that the child could be stillborn, or born with its brain outside of its head, or something like that — then you might consider the perfectly legal procedure known as an abortion.
As it stands, if doctors intentionally withhold that kind of information from you, you can sue them. Conservatives dislike this for several reasons — namely, because they believe that a doctor who is opposed to abortion should not have to tell a patient things that may cause them to want an abortion, and also because they are largely opposed to malpractice lawsuits, because they think that the main thing driving health insurance costs up is malpractice insurance.
The legislators pushing this bill say they’re doing it because they care so very much about the rights of the disabled… though not enough, apparently, that they’d accept a Medicaid expansion so that poor women who give birth to children with severe disabilities can afford to care for them. But they absolutely adore them right up until the moment they exit the womb.
Of course, even if you are not someone who would ever consider abortion, for any reason, it’s hard to imagine that you wouldn’t want to know if something is wrong with your unborn child — especially if there might be something you could do to help. At the very least, knowing would allow you to prepare yourself emotionally for the fact that your child could be stillborn.
That was the case for Rachel Tiddle, a woman who testified at yesterday’s hearing for the bill:
Rachel Tiddle, who unknowingly carried a fetus with severe abnormalities, said if she knew her fetus had severe health issues, she would have tried one of many experimental therapies to try and save her baby’s life. Instead, she gave birth to a stillborn baby.
“It’s not a doctor’s right to manipulate the family by lying, and it is not [a] doctor’s right to decide whether an experimental therapy is worth trying,” Tiddle told the committee. “There is always chance, there is always hope.”
A woman lost her chance to prevent the death of her child because other people were too “pro-life.” How’s that for irony?
End of the day, you are paying doctors for a service. That service is to tell you what is going on with your body, not to stand there in a lab coat lying through their teeth. If that’s what you wanted, you could get someone on Craigslist to do it — and for a hell of a lot less money.
If there are doctors who don’t wish to tell patients if the baby has severe abnormalities, on account of their opposition to abortion, they can make that information publicly available — and get their patients’ written permission that they’re okay with this — before the check clears.
For now, the bill will go to the full Senate for a vote.
(Image via Shutterstock)