Texas legislators request special session to protect patients like Baby Tinslee Lewis

AUSTIN — Today, 18 members of the Texas Legislature sent a bipartisan letter to Governor Greg Abbott asking him to call a special session to repeal the deadly 10-Day Rule. The law has recently made headlines over the case of 10-month-old Tinslee Lewis, who is currently fighting for her life at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth. Texans now look to Governor Abbott to eliminate the countdown placed on patients’ lives.

Baby Tinslee is conscious, and the hospital even stated at the time of their decision that she could live with the proper medical care. However, the hospital committee is utilizing the law to unilaterally and forcefully remove her breathing assistance despite her mother’s objections. If the 10-day provision of the Texas Advance Directives Act is not repealed immediately, other vulnerable patients will die before the next legislative session in 2021.

Other patients like Tinslee have already been victimized by the 10-Day Rule. In April, over one hundred people showed their support at a Senate committee hearing for a bill that would eliminate the countdown, sharing their heart-wrenching stories of family members who were victimized by the current anti-Life policy.

The law explicitly allows a hospital to pull the plug against the patient or family’s will for any reason after 10 days’ notice is given.

The brave legislators whose names appear below are calling for immediate legislative action to repeal the 10-Day Rule, recognizing that Texas families deserve laws that protect their basic constitutional rights to Life and due process.

Texas Right to Life Legislative Director John Seago stated,

“This Texas law is unprecedented, unconstitutional, and unethical. Respect for vulnerable patients’ dignity and autonomy means we should first listen to the patient and surrogates on these basic life and death decisions. We are grateful for the action of these bold legislators in calling for a special session to remove this 20-year-old injustice from our laws.”

Legislators signing onto the letter are as follows:

  • Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe)
  • Senator Bob Hall (R-Edgewood)
  • Senator Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills)
  • Representative Kyle Biedermann (R-Fredericksburg)
  • Representative Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston)
  • Representative Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth)
  • Representative Mayes Middleton (R-Wallisville)
  • Representative Tom Oliverson, M.D. (R-Cypress)
  • Representative Leo Pacheco (D-San Antonio)
  • Representative Jared Patterson (R-Frisco)
  • Representative Scott Sanford (R-McKinney)
  • Representative Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford)
  • Representative Valoree Swanson (R-Spring)
  • Representative Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington)
  • Representative Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands)
  • Representative James White (R-Hillister)
  • Representative Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound)
  • Representative Briscoe Cain (R-Baytown)

Texas Right to Life prioritized House Bill 3158 during the Regular Session of the 86th Legislature that would have put into law more patients’ rights while maintaining a process for medical professionals to communicate their concerns about treatment. This life-saving reform would bring Texas in line with 11 other states with similar legal frameworks.

This article has since been updated with the names of additional legislators who have signed onto the letter to Governor Abbott.