HB 4199: Powerful message of profound respect for life

Testimony given by Jennifer Allmon

This bill is short and simple, but presents a powerful message of profound respect for unborn life, the lives of persons living with disabilities, and the noble desire of doctors to do no harm to their patients.

H.B. 4199 prohibits wrongful birth lawsuits that claim a child should have been aborted rather than being allowed to be born. These horrendous lawsuits claim that, if a physician had only informed the parents of a child’s disability in time, they would have had the option to abort the child.

Setting aside the tragic premise that any parent would believe their child should not have been born, the concept that a doctor should be held financially responsible for a life he did not create, for a disability he did not cause, is also troubling. Lawsuits such as this assume a level of control over the development of human life that doctors and patients simply do not have.

If a child is born with severe disabilities that the physician failed to diagnose through gross negligence, then there are remedies available through medical malpractice suits. These remedies do not convey the notion that the child’s life lacks worth or dignity and properly address the action or inaction of a doctor, rather than encouraging the killing of a child.

In the words of Pope Francis:

“Even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.”

In closing, there is no such thing as a wrongful birth or wrongful life but a lawsuit based on this concept is wrong. The Texas bishops support this bill to stop the utter disregard for human life related to lawsuits based on the concept that any human person should be killed.