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Texas Supreme Court Protects Babies with Disabilities, Maintains Objective Definitions in State Pro-Life Laws

by | Jun 3, 2024

By Kim Schwartz, Texas Right to Life

The Supreme Court of Texas unanimously ruled to protect babies in the womb with disabilities and upheld objective definitions in state law regarding abortion in medical emergencies.

A lawsuit from a pro-abortion group and multiple Texas women sought to add loopholes to Texas’ Pro-Life policies that would endanger children with severe illnesses and would allow doctors to abort babies based on their opinions rather than objective criteria.

The Texas Supreme Court justices wrote:

“The history of abortion regulation in Texas demonstrates the Legislature’s unmistakable commitment to protecting the lives of pregnant women experiencing life-threatening complications while also valuing and protecting unborn life.”

They added:

“The law permits an abortion when reasonable medical judgment would find one indicated to avert death or substantial bodily impairment of a pregnant woman diagnosed with a life-threatening physical condition arising from or aggravated by her pregnancy.”

Texas Right to Life President Dr. John Seago responded:

“Texas Right to Life is thankful that the Supreme Court of Texas defended preborn children and the integrity of the law. As Texas works to clear confusion among doctors and hospitals, we support the ongoing efforts to fully educate medical professionals on the meaning of Texas law and best practices in complex circumstances.”

This case came after plaintiff Amanda Zurawski faced a complication in her pregnancy and her doctor declined to intervene until she became so sick that she could have died. The neglect was not due to Texas law but due to inaccurate and politically-motivated media reporting that has misled doctors into believing that a pregnant woman must be at death’s door in order to act. Such a tragedy was compounded by the irresponsible silence of medical associations and government agencies refusing to provide proper guidelines and education to physicians.

Pro-Life policies do not require the medical risk to be “imminent,” only that the threat be foreseeable. State law defines “medical emergency” as:

 “a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that, as certified by a physician, places the woman in danger of death or a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless an abortion is performed.”

Not only did the anti-Life lawsuit seek to replace the objective definition with vague and subjective language, but perhaps most deceptively, it attempted to use these heartbreaking life-threatening cases as a gateway to allow for ending the lives of preborn babies with critical health conditions.

Through this case and others, abortion activists conflated two separate issues: risk to the mother and the child’s disability.

The anti-Life lawyers argued that physicians should be able to cause the death of babies in the womb if they are “unlikely” to “sustain life after birth.” Preborn children with life-limiting illnesses are just as worthy of the Right to Life as any other human and should continue to be protected in law. In tragic circumstances where the baby may not live long, parents can find hope through nonprofits, such as Abel Speaks, that help honor their children’s lives. Visit AbelSpeaks.org for assistance or more information.

As we applaud this victory, Texas Right to Life continues to call for medical associations and state agencies to provide guidance and clarification to health professionals so Texas can keep protecting all preborn children without putting their mothers’ lives at risk.

Categories: Judicial