An open line. Plus, an Arkansas 'victory' over Texas | Arkansas Blog

An open line. Plus, an Arkansas 'victory' over Texas

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Here's the chilly Saturday open line.

And also this from the Washington Post: An extensive article about how some legislators in Texas are fiercely opposing a so-called wrongful birth bill.

Yes, right. Arkansas just passed and Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a "wrongful birth" bill. It was clearly identified as part of the anti-abortion agenda, but what resistance exists to this agenda in Arkansas pretty well rolled over to the clever branding. It was sold as a bill to prevent  lawyers from suing a doctor whose patient delivered a child with a disability.

Truth is, despite the pitch made in Arkansas by the anti-abortion advocates of this bill, nobody is suing much over such cases. The Post article didn't find a lawyer who could cite a case in Texas since 1975, when parents were awarded medical expenses for a baby born with defective organs. What the bill is really about, argue opponents in Texas, is giving doctors leeway to keep patients in the dark. As the story illustrates, mothers who are properly informed sometimes don't choose abortion. Had they known, they might have chosen effective treatment.

A mother who lost a child to an undetected problem fears the bill will provide a means to keep women from learning about medical problems. Advocates of the bill says this takes a cynical view of doctors.

Blake Rocap, legislative director for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said physicians shouldn't be in a position to make a moral judgment about the information they give patients. How that information is used, he said, is a woman's business alone. Rocap said proponents of the bill seem to be operating under the false assumption that fully informing a woman about a problem with her pregnancy is the same thing as recommending she get an abortion.

“Sometimes that information will lead to termination of a pregnancy and sometimes it will lead to a woman going to great lengths to keep a pregnancy viable that may otherwise be lost or end in a miscarriage,” he said.

He added that, by limiting legal consequences, the bill could encourage doctors to commit what he characterized as medical malpractice.

“I would like to believe there's not many doctors in the state of Texas who would be so unprofessional to lie to their patients,” he said. “But for those that would, this bill allows them to do that without taking any responsibility.”

Texas' most powerful politicians support the legislation, which came out of committee and is before the full Senate. Arkansas got there first.




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