Baby Tinslee Lewis is the latest victim to find herself fighting for her life because of doctors threatening to withdraw her life-sustaining treatment. The Second Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments for this case on February 4 to determine whether little Tinslee Lewis’s life-sustaining treatment will continue.
In Texas, it is entirely legal for a hospital to withdraw life-sustaining treatment over the objections of the patient and the patient’s family so long as the hospital gives 10 days’ notice. Texas Right to Life is currently representing Tinslee’s family in their efforts to block the hospital’s withdrawal of treatment.
The “10-day law” has been the subject of intense scrutiny during the past several legislative sessions. THSC has joined the battle to reform this unjust law on the basis that it denies families the God-given, fundamental right to make decisions for their children, as is happening now with Tinslee’s family.
THSC filed an amicus brief supporting Tinslee’s family in the trial court on December 19, 2019. After the trial judge denied the family’s request to block the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, the family appealed.
The Second Court of Appeals has granted temporary relief to the family by ordering that life-sustaining treatment could not be withdrawn while the appeal was pending. On February 4, the court will hear oral arguments in the case. A final decision will be rendered sometime after the arguments, likely within a few weeks.
Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a brief on behalf of the state of Texas, siding with the family by making the case that the statute allowing the hospital to withdraw treatment is unconstitutional.
On January 27, THSC filed an amicus brief with the Second Court of Appeals, arguing that the statute was being applied unconstitutionally because it granted the hospital authority to infringe on the Lewis family’s right to make medical decisions for baby Tinslee.
All briefs are now filed with the appellate court, which means that the court could rule at any time. Regardless of the ruling, an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court is likely, at which point this case would become the third major parental rights case before the high court in less than a year.
Last October, the Texas Supreme Court granted temporary relief in two other major parental rights cases. In the Pardo case, the court ordered the immediate return of Drake Pardo, who had been illegally removed from his family by CPS. The case against the family was dropped by CPS less than two months later.
In the CJC case, the Texas Supreme Court temporarily blocked a trial judge’s order that had granted partial custody of a little girl to a non-family member. This was done over the objections of the girl’s father, even though all parties in the case explicitly acknowledged that the father was an entirely fit parent. The CJC case is now scheduled for oral arguments before the court on March 24, after which a final ruling will be made.
Given the court’s strong actions in favor of parental rights in both of the prior two cases, there is hope that Tinslee’s family may succeed before the Texas Supreme Court if the case goes that far.
In the meantime, please pray for Tinslee and her family. Pray that God would give the hospital and the judges the courage to do the right thing, and that Tinslee’s life and health would be protected. Thank you for supporting this family and THSC’s mission of Keeping Texas Families Free!
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