Urge your Texas State Senator to oppose two bills that will harm patients at the end of life.
We ask you to immediately urge your Texas State Senator to oppose SB 2089 and SB 2129, which are now before the Senate. These bills would greatly harm patients at the end of life if they became law. We need to stop these bills before that happens. SB 2089 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola)and SB 2129 by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) would each set back the pro-life movement 20 years on end of life care.
The proposed bills would force physicians and nurses to perform painful medical interventions indefinitely on terminally ill patients.
SAMPLE MESSAGE: Please contact your senator as soon as possible. Use your own words.
“Hello, my name is (name). I live at (address). Please ask Senator (last) to oppose SB 2089 and SB 2129, two bills that will harm patients at the end of life. Thank you.”
The Honorable (first) (last)
State Senator District (#)
Dear Senator (last):
I urge you to oppose SB 2089 and SB 2129, two bills that will harm patients at the end of life.
Please let us know you’ve contacted your senator.
Send comments to email@example.com.
- Both bills — SB 2089 and SB 2129 — weaken or eliminate a successful dispute resolution process that has existed in state law for 20 years. That critical process is a key part of the Texas Advance Directives Act, signed into law by pro-life Governor George W. Bush in 1999 with the unanimous support of the pro-life community including Texas Alliance for Life and Texas Right to Life.
- The dispute resolution process encourages doctors and families to discuss medically appropriate treatments for a loved one at the end of life. The expectation, and the practice under the law, are that doctors should follow the wishes of patients and their families regarding medical interventions when the patient is near the end of life. For example, the law requires providing food and water if requested by the family or deemed medically appropriate by the physician. Also, doctors cannot issue a DNR without obtaining the consent of the patient or family.
- However, in very rare occasions, requested medically inappropriate interventions would harm the patient by causing great pain or suffering without benefit to the patient. Doctors and nurses are sometimes asked to do unspeakable things to patients by the family. Beckett Gremels, Ph.D., System Director of Ethics for CHRISTUS Health, gave the following compelling testimony to the Senate:
In my experience as a clinical ethicist in over 1,000 ethics consults, they are made in response to patients who are harmed miserably and needlessly, whose death is prolonged due to unnecessary, inappropriate, and ineffective medical interventions which cause extreme pain and harm. We are not talking about life prolonging medical interventions but death prolonging medical interventions. I have seen patients who took weeks, sometimes months, to die from illnesses that everyone agreed would unquestionably result in their death, only to have death prolonged and comfort care withheld due to requests from well-meaning, overburdened, grieving surrogate decision makers. I have seen and smelled many patients rot while still alive.
Even worse, I have seen death prolonged by surrogate who were not well-meaning, who kept patients alive for their own benefit rather than thinking of the patient’s needs. Sometimes the benefit is financial, sometimes social, but mostly it is emotional. Respecting human dignity requires us to never treat human beings as objects or means to an end. Providing ineffective interventions for weeks without end that only serve to hurt patients for the benefit of a surrogate, or what is sometimes called “treating the family,” uses patients as objects and undermines their inherent dignity as beings made in God’s image.
In rare circumstances like those described above, the law creates a process requiring the doctor to find an alternate provider and assist in transferring the patient. In one prominent case in Houston, a hospital contacted more than 60 alternate ICU providers for a terminally ill patient. SB 2089 and SB 2129 would weaken or eliminate that process, thereby harming patients.
- Texas Patients Advocates — A large coalition of organizations that advocate for patients, including prominent pro-life organizations, oppose SB 2089 and SB 2129. The coalition includes Texas Alliance for Life, Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, Coalitions of Texans with Disabilities, Texans for Life, Texas Hospital Association, Texas Medical Association, and the Catholic Health Association of Texas. Here is our joint statement in opposition to SB 2089 and SB 2129: https://www.texasallianceforlife.org/wp-content/uploads/EOL_SB-2089-and-SB-2129_v2-04_22_2019.pdf