Three new pro-life laws set to take effect in Texas

Three new pro-life laws are set to take effect in Texas on September 1.

According to Texas Right to Life, the most notable law is House Bill 3162, which changes the state’s controversial 10-day rule. Per that rule, hospitals were allowed to disconnect life support from patients after just 10 days, even if the patient’s family objected. Live Action News has previously shared the stories of patients who survived after hospitals were pushing to end their lives due to that rule, like Tinslee Lewis and Jose Cobos-Portillo. Both Tinslee and Jose are alive today thanks only to the fight of lawyers and pro-life groups on their behalf.

Now, with the passage of HB 3162, long overdue changes have been made: the 10-day limit has been extended to 25 days, life support cannot be withdrawn from competent patients, and hospitals will no longer be able to make arbitrary “quality of life” judgments. Hospitals also have to give families the opportunity to move their loved one to a different facility should they so choose, and families will also be allowed to participate in ethics review committee meetings as the fate of their sick loved one is determined.

John Seago, president of Texas Right To Life, said while the new law isn’t perfect, it’s a step in the right direction.

READ: Nearly 10,000 babies saved by Texas pro-life law, new analysis indicates

“While 25 days is not anywhere close to where we want to be, this package also had other meaningful reforms of the process that are going to be good for Texas,” he told OA Online. “We were also talking about other good changes to make the process more pro-patient and pro-family, you know.”

The other two laws set to go into effect are designed to support students who may be pregnant or have children.

Senate Bill 412 enshrines federal protections for pregnant and parenting students, while Senate Bill 459 gives parenting college students priority class registration. The bills allow students to take the time off needed for pregnancy or childbirth without discrimination.

“What we like about these bills is that it sets the table for an understanding that students who are parents face different responsibilities,” said Amy O’Donnell of Texas Alliance for Life to the Texas Tribune in May. “They have different weights on them, they have different pressures on them. They have to navigate different things than a student who is not a parent and there needs to be accommodations for them. There needs to be resources.”

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