Senate Bill 11 (SB 11) by Sen. Charles Perry represented a major victory for Texas families during the special legislative session in Austin in the summer of 2017.
SB 11 was important for addressing the Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) law in Texas, empowering parents to have the final decision on their children’s life, not doctors or medical facilities. The bill protecting families went into effect on April 1, 2018.
To parents, there is nothing in this world as important as their children. Even to those of us who do not yet have children, this instinct is natural and naturally understood. From the Bible, Psalms 127:3-5 clearly states:
“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.” (NASB)
The blessing of children ties directly to THSC’s mission to protect the rights of parents to home educate their children. Our mission extends to homeschooling parents, who know that it is imperative to protect the foundational element of parental rights.
Previously, our focus in the homeschool community was simply to protect the rights of parents to home educate their children. Now, the battle has shifted away from the basic right to homeschool to a new challenge of a parent’s fundamental right to make vital decisions on their child’s behalf.
One form of these attacks is attempting to take away a parent’s right to make medical decisions related to their children.
What Were the Past Abuses of the Do Not Resuscitate Law?
Prior to the passage of SB 11, Texas law was silent on who had the authority to authorize or deny DNR orders in hospital settings.
The result of this legal ambiguity was that hospitals often forcibly placed DNR orders into patients’ files over the objections of the patient or the patient’s legal guardian.
In some situations, parents were left without the ability to fight for their children’s lives when doctors unilaterally decided to deny essential life support. These situations alerted THSC to the need for DNR reform.
Then, during the special session, THSC advocated for DNR reform bill SB 11, which improves the process for parents and patients to make the best decision for their family in end-of-life situations.
SB 11 Contains Important Parental Rights Reforms
SB 11 instituted rules for what conditions must be met in order for a DNR order to be legal. Here are the provisions of the bill that directly protect the rights of parents:
- The bill creates a clearly-defined list of people who are given the ability to authorize a DNR. This list specifically includes parents/legal guardians.
- For situations in which a DNR is authorized by the patient, the bill requires that the hospital inform the patient’s parent (or other person with legal power of attorney) if the patient themselves cannot be made aware of it.
- If a parent arrives at a hospital where their child is being treated and a DNR order has been issued for their child, the hospital is required to notify the parent.
- The bill requires doctors to revoke DNR orders if directed by the patient’s parent (when the patient is incompetent).
Thanks to SB 11, the process for DNR orders now gives proper respect to the rights of parents.
Prior to the passage of SB 11, Texas law allowed for situations like that of Charlie Gard, a baby who died in the U.K. after doctors and courts refused to allow him to be treated for his condition or taken to another hospital despite his parents’ desperate attempts to save his life. No longer will this be acceptable in Texas!
SB 11 is just one of the many homeschool victories this year thanks to your prayerful and financial support. With your ongoing help, THSC will continue fighting with pro-family champions like Senator Perry to protect the rights of parents. Thank you for being a part of this fight as we join together Keeping Texas Families Free!