Attorney General Paxton defends Tinslee Lewis, deems 10-Day Rule unconstitutional

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On Friday, November 22, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the District Court of Tarrant County, defending the Right to Life of 9-month-old Tinslee Lewis, whom Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth is trying to deny treatment using the anti-Life 10-Day Rule.  The amicus brief also argues the 10-day provision of the Texas Advance Directives Act is unconstitutional and dangerously violates patients’ right to due process.

“One of the core principles provided by the United States Constitution is that no person should be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law,” said Attorney General Paxton.  “This unconstitutional statute infringes on patients’ right to life and does not allow patients and their families sufficient notice and the opportunity to be heard before physicians override the rights of their patients.  Patients must be heard and justly represented when determining their own medical treatment, especially when the decision to end treatment could end their life.”

Baby Tinslee is a 9-month-old girl with congenital heart disease and is breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.  She is sedated but conscious. Cook Children’s Fort Worth Hospital informed Tinslee’s mother, Trinity, on October 31 that they would pull the plug on her daughter against her directive in 10 days, scheduling her to die November 10, under the Texas 10-Day Rule.  The hospital committee cited no physical health reason for their decision to seize Tinslee’s ventilator against her mother’s will but instead cited their own “quality of life” judgments.

The family’s lawyers, provided by Texas Right to Life, and Cook Children’s agreed to extend the temporary restraining order, allowing our patient advocacy team more time to secure a transfer.  A new hearing will take place sometime between December 4-10, and the judge will decide whether to grant a temporary injunction, which will extend Tinslee’s safety beyond December 10, or to allow Cook Children’s to pull the plug on Baby Tinslee afterward.

Texas Right to Life is grateful to the attorney general for joining in this important fight and for defending the Right to Life of all Texans.  We pray that the court strikes down this unprecedented, unethical, and unconstitutional law.

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