Even as the 84th legislative session nears its close, the Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) and its legislative team, the THSC Watchmen, continue not only working to pass their own legislation protecting the freedoms of home schoolers, but also fighting vigorously to protect the rights of parents and home school families from problematic or dangerous bills. Without parental rights, home school rights would be virtually obsolete. The rights of parents must be defended as much as – if not more than – home school rights alone.
The 84th Texas Legislature has been no exception. Public Policy Director Jeremy Newman and his team of Watchmen recently testified on two more bills that posed potentially significant threats to parental rights and to human life:
- House Bill 3074 had the potential to violate the rights of parents whose child is relying on life sustaining treatment.
- House Bill 3183 allows the removal of life sustaining treatment to a pregnant mother.
Children on Life Sustaining Treatment (House Bill 3074)
In approaching issues from a parental rights perspective, THSC continues its strong pro-life stance. Right now, doctors are not required to provide life sustaining treatment to patients within the hospital. However, the current law does not give any scenarios or examples offering further explanation as to when the doctor can end life supporting treatment. Representative Drew Springer designed House Bill 3074 to limit the situations in which a hospital or doctor could remove life sustaining treatment from a patient. However, the bill language could have actually put the family and lawyers of the patient at a significant disadvantage when trying to defend the patient’s life and need for life sustaining treatment. This had potential to directly violate parental rights in the case of a child relying on life sustaining treatment. The Watchmen testified on the bill and the bill author, along with several other parties, made changes to the bill in order to protect parental rights.
Pregnant Mothers on Life Sustaining Treatment (House Bill 3183)
Representative Elliott Naishtat’s House Bill 3183 was the second bill requiring testimony from the THSC Watchmen. This bill would allow hospitals and doctors to remove life sustaining treatment from a pregnant woman. Currently, it is illegal for a doctor to remove life sustaining treatment from a woman expecting a child. If this bill were passed, however, the law would change and allow healthcare providers to remove life sustaining treatment from a pregnant woman who had previously signed an affidavit authorizing the removal. The Watchmen testified regarding two major concerns with the language in this bill:
- The bill ignores the wishes of the second parent.
- It also includes no provisions ensuring that a woman having signed the affidavit understood when doing so that it can be used to remove life sustaining treatment while pregnant and therefore end her unborn child’s life.
An affidavit that was signed without a guarantee that the woman understood that the affidavit could end the life of her unborn child, should not allow the end of life sustaining treatment to a pregnant mother.
Due to the THSC Watchmen’s testimony, and the testimony of many others, countless threats to home schooling and parental rights have been neutralized this session (see thsc.org/takeaction for more information). In this last month of the legislative session, THSC continues to defend parental rights in order to Keep Texas Families Free. Would you join us in supporting the defense of Texas families?