Texas ‘Unborn Child Due Process Act’ (HB 1901)
This law was last updated on Apr 25, 2016
HB 1901 would require a hospital to keep a pregnant woman on life support “regardless of whether there is irreversible cessation of all spontaneous brain function of the pregnant patient” and “if the life-sustaining treatment is enabling the unborn child to mature.”
The bill would require the Texas Attorney General to appoint an attorney for the unborn fetus to represent the “unborn child’s interest” in court proceedings.
Attorneys would be chosen from a registry set up by the attorney general that includes contact information of qualified lawyers that have voluntarily notified the attorney general of their willingness to serve.
Current Texas law does not allow medical professionals to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment from a pregnant patient. In 2013, Marlise Munoz – who was 14 weeks pregnant – collapsed in her home and was taken to the hospital where she was kept on mechanical support for two months after she was declared brain dead. Wanting to honor her wishes, her family attempted to remove her from life support but were denied by the hospital due to Texas law. The family eventually obtained a court order allowing her to be taken off the ventilator.
As reported by Rewire, HB 1901 would take the existing law one step further by assigning lawyers to fetuses of brain dead patients, “forcing mourning families to go to court to allow their loved ones’ wishes to be observed.”