The Texas Medical Association (TMA) supports our physicians specializing in women’s health and opposes legislation in Senate Bill 8 of Texas’ 87th legislative session and Senate Bill 4 of this special session.
SB 4 contains language that criminalizes the practice of medicine. Both bills interfere with the patient-physician relationship.
The physicians of Texas never thought the day would come when the performance of our oath would create a private cause of action for persons not connected to or harmed by the action. Yet, that day has sadly arrived in the state we love.
TMA is shocked the U.S. Supreme Court so far has not stopped the provisions of SB 8 that create a scheme of deputizing private citizens to carry out what the state itself cannot do, due to U.S. constitutional restrictions. Meanwhile, SB 4 is on its way to Gov. Greg Abbott with language that criminalizes the practice of medicine.
SB 8 allows for a bounty that encourages practically any citizen to file a cause of action against physicians, other health care professionals, and anyone who ‘aids or abets,’ based on a suspicion. If permitted to proceed, this law will be precedent-setting and could normalize vigilante interference in the patient-physician relationship in other complex, controversial medical or ethical situations.
SB 8 and SB 4 go too far. Clearly these provisions are unconstitutional, in our opinion. TMA stands for the health care of all Texans and our profession.
Enough is enough.
Editor’s Note: The above commentary was provided by Dr. Linda Villarreal, MD, president of the Texas Medical Association, and Dr. Rick W. Synder II. MD, chairman of the Texas Medical Association’s board of trustees. The commentary was made in opposition to Texas Senate Bill 8 and Texas Senate Bill 4. Villarreal is an internist based in Edinburg, Texas. The TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 55,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
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