The Texas Pro-Life Movement Needs Your Help on Monday in Austin

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The Texas Pro-Life Movement Needs Your Help on Monday in Austin.

A very troubling bill on advance directives and Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) orders will be considered the State House Committee on Public Heath on Monday, May 13th.

If you or an ailing loved one has ever been the victim of a hospital trying to withdraw or deny medical care, please come to Austin to share your story on Monday.  If you have ever had to defend your life or a loved one's against an unwanted DNR or Do-Not-Attempt-Resuscitation (DNAR), you can demonstrate to the committee that a DNR or DNAR should only be issued after the patient or surrogate consents.

Big medicine and their lobbyists are trying to pass Senate Bill 303 (SB 303) claiming it is an improvement.  In reality, SB 303 worsens an already-dangerous law in Texas.  Please join numerous major Pro-Life Texas and national organizations to oppose SB 303 in your Texas State Capitol on Monday, May 13th.

Click here to view all the organizations opposed to SB 303 that were not invited to participate in its drafting.

This is the last opportunity for Pro-Life activism for the 83rd Legislative Session, and we need all Texas Pro-Life activists to take a stand.

Where: State Capitol Building Extension, Committee Hearing Room E2.010
When: Monday, May 13th, approximately 4:00 pm
How: Anyone can testify and/or submit written testimony (15 copies) to the committee.

We urge everyone who cares about patients' rights – caring family members, those with disabled family members, Pro-Life lawyers, Pro-Life doctors, bioethicists, patient advocates, disability rights activists, etc. – to stand up for Life on Monday.

Summary of problems with SB303:

1. Unwanted DNARs can be issued on patients.
Current Texas law is silent on in-hospital DNAR orders.  SB 303 leaves too many loopholes in the DNAR notification process to afford any real protection to patients (such as “incompetent” patients, when death is “imminent,” which is undefined, and when CPR would be “medically ineffective”).  SB 303 moves all power into the hands of the facility, leaving no real recourse or say to the patient whose life is at stake.

2. Food and water can be withheld and withdrawn against the patient’s will.
In Section 7, Section 166.046(e), SB 303 allows food and water to be withdrawn against a patient’s wishes if the physician applies one of the four subjective criteria, including if he believes the benefit of food and water (i.e., being alive) “outweighs” physical pain or discomfort.  This is simply allowing physicians and hospitals to have the final word on whether your life will be worth living.

3. Disabled and terminally ill patients are at even greater risk under SB 303 than under current law.
In Section 7, Section 166.046(e), SB 303 allows withholding of treatment from terminally ill patients even if they need treatment for a secondary infection.  Additionally, the bill allows withholding of treatment from patients with non-terminal, irreversible conditions – that is, anyone with a disability. (Poor eyesight and arthritis are often irreversible, non-terminal conditions!)

4. No due process for patients.
Senate Bill 303 adds some procedures for the hospital to follow, including a subcommittee, patient liaison, second opinion option, and the ultimate ethics committee, but the bill is short on protections for patients.  For example, the only appeals are to the very hospital committee that issued these futility decisions in the first place.

5. Limits number of family advocates who speak for the patient in front of the hospital panel.
When hospital personnel are deciding the fate of your loved one, can too many voices be heard?  For an already distressed family to be outnumbered in front of this hospital panel seems predatory and unfair.  Current law is silent on how many advocates can attend to defend the patient, SB 303 limits that number to five.

6. Imbalance of power.
Hospital personnel who are either affiliated with or work at that facility are the ones making life and death decisions for vulnerable patients.  This clearly marks a conflict of interest and gives the hospital the absolute power over the life of the ailing patient.  SB 303 worsen this imbalance by requiring families to submit to additional committee meetings where hospital employees will try to change the family’s mind about caring for their loved one.

No need to register or RSVP beforehand, but click here if you would like to let us know you will be attending.

If you need more information about SB 303 or the hearing, please contact us at EHorne@TexasRightToLife.com or 979-877-9746.

Read current version of Senate Bill 303 here.

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