The Hippocratic oath, which is taken by all doctors, serves as a moral guideline on how to address health care in terms of their patients. One of the key tenets in the modern version of the oath is to “apply for the benefit of the sick” and that “warmth, sympathy, and understanding” all must be used to treat the person.
An upcoming Texas bill would allow doctors to withhold information about fetal defects and not mention abortion as an option. While doctors shouldn’t explicitly recommend an abortion, withholding medical information would throw the Hippocratic oath out the window.
Texas Senate Bill 25, nicknamed the “Wrongful Birth Bill,” abolishes wrongful birth lawsuits from affecting doctors who do not tell their patients about termination as an option.
While members of the Editorial Board have differing views about abortion, the majority of us agreed that this law will potentially prevent the parents from making educated plans for their children.
Having a child is expensive. CNN reports that raising a child costs, on average, more than $233,000.
While many parents are able to provide for their children, it does take planning and budgeting. A decent amount of that planning happens during the pregnancy, and providing for a child with disabilities takes significantly more planning.
This is because 40 percent of American families with a disabled child reported financial burdens and are more likely to be single-parent families.
It’s wrong to allow doctors to mislead patients about the severity of a child’s disability. The Editorial Board understands people have different opinions about abortion. However, parents have a right to know the health of their coming baby. Children deserve to be in environments that can support them, and this bill denies many families the time to obtain resources to do so if they don’t know all their options.
This bill could prevent families from supporting their children in the best way they can.
It leaves women in the dark about whether or not abortion is a medically significant option, and it inches physicians towards withholding important medical information.
Doctors should by no means have to recommend abortion, but they need to let patients know about their situation and their options. By limiting this medical knowledge, Texas Senate Bill 25 can only have negative effects on women, families and children.