Fri May 30, 2014
Thou Shalt Not Pull the Plug
“We have to err on the side of life and give that baby a voice.”
That’s the philosophy behind a bill to require keeping a pregnant woman on life support until her child can be born. HB 1274 is headed to conference committee after its author, New Orleans Representative Austin Badon, urged the full House Thursday to reject an amendment added by the Senate earlier this week.
New Orleans Senator J.P. Morrell was the author of that amendment, which would permit the woman’s family to make the final decision.
“We’re talking about having the government tell the family, ‘You can’t make the decision what happens to your family member. The government’s going to make the decision for you’,” Morrell said while urging the Senate to add the amendment.
But Badon maintains it is not the government that will be deciding. It’s the doctor.
“It is strictly based on a consultation with a medical professional who makes that decision.”
Badon says the bill came about after he heard about a recent Texas court case in which the pregnant woman’s husband wanted her taken off the hospital-ordered child support. In that case, the woman was only 14 weeks pregnant when she collapsed and was declared brain-dead. The hospital maintained Texas law required them to keep her on life support as long as there was a fetal heartbeat. The woman’s husband ultimately prevailed in court.
Badon says he viewed the husband’s actions as a form of murder—of the baby.
“Under many state laws, he is now committing feticide, because he is killing that baby,” Badon explains. “What I’m simply asking is that we do everything possible to maintain life and to save that child.”
Since the Senate vote to add the family decision amendment was a close one, 20-18, it’s likely that Badon will get his way in conference committee.