Attorney General Ken Paxton and Gov. Greg Abbott today filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Second Court of Appeals, urging the court to reverse a lower court’s order and grant baby T.L.’s family a temporary injunction until the case is resolved to protect the baby’s life.
In November 2019, Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas denied the baby’s mother’s request to continue life-sustaining treatment without first providing due process of law, directly violating her wishes and her daughter’s right to life. The family seeks an order from the court that will prevent the hospital from ignoring the family’s wishes by ending baby T.L.’s life.
“Life is the first and ultimate constitutionally protected interest, and this case is certainly a matter of life or death,” said Attorney General Paxton. “This baby girl, like all Texans, has the rights to life and due process. Patients must be heard and justly represented when determining their own medical treatment, especially when their life is in danger. My office will use all necessary resources to ensure that this baby and all Texans are afforded the rights they deserve.”
Section 166.046 of the Texas Health and Safety Code states that a physician who decides that treatment is medically inappropriate – along with an ethics or medical committee that affirms the decision – is not required to provide life-sustaining treatment at the request of a patient or the person responsible for the health care decisions of the patient unless a court orders otherwise. The statute fails to require that physicians provide an explanation of why they refused life-sustaining treatment and provide the patient’s family with adequate notice and opportunity to argue their position prior to the committee reaching a decision, effectively allowing the government to deny an individual’s right to his or her own life without due process.
To view a copy of the amicus brief, click here.