Texas Lawmaker Wants to Ban Wrongful Birth Lawsuits

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelFebruary 28, 2017 10:35 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Texas lawmakers discussed a bill on Monday that would protect doctors from wrongful birth lawsuits. Senate Bill 25 would prevent parents from suing doctors if their baby is born with defects or disabilities.

Republican State Sen.Brandon Creighton of Conroe is the bill’s author. He told the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs that he doesn’t like wrongful birth lawsuits for a couple of reasons. First, he said there’s no such thing as a wrongful birth in his opinion.

“It also affects doctors since they may be liable for a disability in which they did not cause, doctors may overcautiously seek out all potential disabilities and promote abortions in order to avoid liability,” he says. 

Margaret Johnson with the League of Women Voters told lawmakers her organization opposes SB 25.

“Eliminating the wrongful birth claim is an unreasonable restriction on the constitutional right of a woman in consultation with her physician and family members to make an informed decision about whether or not to have an abortion,” Johnson says. 

Ultimately the committee members voted 8-0 to send the bill to the full state senate. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has deemed this bill a priority.

A state lawmaker wants the Texas Rangers to investigate the sexual assault scandal at Baylor University and whether school officials tried to cover it up.

The scandal resulted in head football coach Art Briles losing his job and school president Ken Starr stepping down after an independent investigation found at least 17 women reported being raped by 19 football players since 2011. A lawsuit against the school put the number of alleged assaults by football players at more than 50 over a 4-year period.

State Rep. Roland Gutierrez, a San Antonio Democrat, alleges there was obstruction of justice by campus law enforcement.

“We should have a higher authority looking at them at all levels,” he says. “Sunshine is the best disinfectant, and we aim to try to get that done here in Waco at Baylor this year.”

In a written statement released on Monday, Baylor said it pledges to fully extend its cooperation with governmental and law enforcement authorities.

Baylor also says the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights will have representatives on campus this week to meet with various administrators and students.

A transgender woman detained on immigration charges will receive hormonal treatment while she waits for her case to be resolved.

The arrest of Mexican-born Irvin Gonzalez-Torres made national headlines earlier this month because federal immigration officials detained her after she received a protective order against her alleged abuser.

She had previously been denied hormonal treatments in the county jail where she has been held since February 9, according to the El Paso Times. At a Monday hearing, her lawyers reached an agreement with the U.S. Marshals to ensure she receives her daily minimum estrogen treatment.