New Texas Law Will Protect Patients but More Work Remains to Eliminate Deadly Countdown

Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill Wednesday improving protections for hospital patients and reforming the deadly Texas 10-Day Rule.

Pro-Life Texans celebrate this great step forward yet recognize the work ahead to repeal the provisions of state law that still allow hospital committees to take away life-and-death decisions from patients and families.

Current Texas law allows hospitals to remove patients’ life-sustaining treatment against their will with only 10 days’ notice, but House Bill 3162 by Chairwoman Stephanie Klick (R – Fort Worth) is a significant step in returning more rights to patients and families.

The new reform will:

  • Extend the countdown on a patient’s life from 10 days to 25 days;
  • Prohibit hospitals from withdrawing treatment based on “quality of life” discrimination;
  • Protect competent patients from the countdown; and
  • Require hospitals to perform procedures necessary to facilitate a transfer before imposing a countdown.

However, Texas patients will still be in danger until state legislators address these additional needs:

  • Eliminate the countdown;
  • Improve language to protect disabled patients from discrimination; and
  • Guarantee impartial review by a judge.

“We celebrate the biggest step yet in protecting Texas patients. For 20 years, Texas Right to Life has worked with lawmakers to repeal or reform the deadly 10-Day Rule. Now, with the efforts of Representative Stephanie Klick and Senators Drew Springer and Bryan Hughes, countless families will find more relief in this incremental, yet important, legislation,” added Texas Right to Life President Dr. John Seago.

Americans everywhere witnessed the horrors of Texas law when hospitals sought to take away treatment from 9-month-old Tinslee Lewis (who is now 4-years-old and home with her family), 46-year-old Chris Dunn, and 61-year-old Carolyn Jones.

As Texas now moves forward, the best way to more fully protect patients’ rights is to repeal this unprecedented state law, which will now be the “Texas 25-Day Rule.” However, until that is accomplished we are committed to improving the policy and saving lives along the way through our front-line Patient Advocacy ministry.

HB 3162 will take effect September 1, 2023. We applaud the tireless leadership of Representative Klick, without whom this victory would not have been possible. She has advocated on this issue for two decades and spearheaded months of negotiations between advocacy groups, including Texas Right to Life, in order to accomplish the passage of HB 3162.

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