Senate OKs Bill to Protect Doctors Who Don't Tell Women About Fetal Disabilities

AUSTIN — The Texas Senate on Monday gave preliminary approval to a bill that would ban parents from suing a doctor who doesn't tell them their baby has a disability or counsel them on their options, including abortion.Sen. Brandon Creighton, the bill's author, revised the legislation after numerous media reports said a bill to ban "wrongful birth" lawsuits would allow doctors to lie to their patients. The new language says the bill doesn't relieve doctors of their duties under "any other applicable law."Creighton, R-Conroe, told lawmakers Monday that existing laws protect parents from doctors who fail to tell them the truth, so they could file negligence or malpractice claims instead."This in no way allows them to get out from under their current duty or standard of care," Creighton said. "They fall under all applicable laws that are currently on the books for any bad-actor scenario." Robert Talaska, a Houston attorney who has experience with wrongful-birth lawsuits, said he has a different view. "Doctors would not be held accountable by taking away this cause of action," he said in an interview last week. "They will continue to have the ethical duty [to inform parents], but they're without any civil liability so they can do what they want. ... Some pro-life doctors could very easily not give them that option or do it in a timely manner." Talaska said for wrongful-birth lawsuits to succeed, the plaintiffs must say they would have terminated the pregnancy if the doctor had informed them of their child's disability.  Continue reading...

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