Bishop Strickland, others urge court to maintain life support for Baby Tinslee

Baby Tinslee was born prematurely and with a rare heart condition. Despite continued improvement, the hospital wants to remove life support, effectively killing Tinslee.
Fri Oct 9, 2020 - 9:02 am EST
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Tinslee Lewis in Cook Children’s Medical Center, in Fort Worth, Texas.

FORT WORTH, Texas, October 9, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Disability rights organizations joined religious leaders in an amici curiae brief to protect Baby Tinslee Lewis, a young girl born prematurely and with a rare heart defect, in her fight against the Texas 10-Day Rule.

The Texas 10-Day Rule grants a hospital committee the power to make life-and-death decisions against the wishes of the patient or her medical decision-maker. The patient has only 10 days to secure transfer to another medical facility before life-sustaining care is denied and withdrawn.

As the brief observed, this means that the Texas 10-Day Rule not only violates an individual’s rights but also tramples parental rights and due process, as in the case of Baby Tinslee.

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Yesterday’s friends of the court brief was submitted to the Supreme Court of Texas by Catholic bishops Joseph E. Strickland of Tyler and René H. Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, as we Protect TX Fragile Kids, ADAPT, ADAPT of Texas, Not Dead Yet, the Healthcare Advocacy and Leadership Organization (HALO), the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network, Deacon Keith Fournier, Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the True Texas Project, Right to Life of East Texas, the Common Good Foundation, and Grassroots America We the People.

A lower court in July rebuked the anti-Life Texas 10-Day Rule (section 166.046 of the Texas Health and Safety Code). Baby Tinslee’s case now awaits review in the Texas Supreme Court.

Last month, Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth filed a motion to expedite the case in the state’s highest court. Cook Children’s has been fighting to remove life-sustaining care from Baby Tinslee against the wishes of Tinslee’s mother, Trinity, for over a year now.

In the amici curiae brief in support of Baby Tinslee, the groups wrote, “If review is granted, this Court should hold that section 166.046 is unconstitutional as applied on its face.”

The brief noted that Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton had issued a joint statement earlier this year in defense of Baby Tinslee and her family’s fight to protect her Right to Life. Abbott and Paxton also filed a brief in support of Baby Tinslee, in which the two attorneys deemed the Texas 10-Day Rule unconstitutional.

The brief outlined that under the 10-Day Rule, “There is no standard of proof, no meaningful right for the patient to be heard, no right to call witnesses, no record, and no neutral arbiter to decide the patient’s fate.” In Baby Tinslee’s case, Cook Children’s asserted in December 2019 that she would not live beyond May. Now, Tinslee is still alive almost a year later, approaching her second birthday.

Texas Right to Life, one of the organizations that submitted the friends of the court brief has helped over three dozen patients facing denial of treatment in 2020 alone.

  bishop strickland, east texas right to life, life support, preemie, premature birth, tinslee lewis

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