Texas Says a Fetus Is a Child, Except When a Parent Sues a Negligent Doctor or State Official

Slate (online), August 23, 2023

San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 23-031

3 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2023

See all articles by Dov Fox

Dov Fox

University of San Diego: School of Law

Jill Wieber Lens

University of Arkansas - School of Law

Date Written: August 23, 2023

Abstract

More than a few states now define a fetus as a baby -- that is, except when a grieving parent sues a negligent doctor or state official. We call out double standards in how these states -- like Texas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Arizona, Idaho, and Mississippi -- think and talk about unborn life: as a "child" or "person" in treating abortion as murder, but a "body part" or "property" for grieving parents denied the kid they desperately wanted to take home. The state’s interest in nascent life shouldn’t count for more than that of an expectant parent. Taking reproductive loss seriously points to ways of protecting the unborn that don’t involve forcing pregnancy or childbirth: Support those who want to have their child. Expand access to prenatal care. Accommodate pregnant people at work. At the very least, when wrongful misconduct causes a miscarriage or stillbirth, don’t devalue that loss by reducing the state's "individual" to the parent's "appendage."

Keywords: pregnancy, abortion, torts, remedies, stillbirth, miscarriage, reproductive justice, IVF

Suggested Citation

Fox, Dov and Lens, Jill Wieber, Texas Says a Fetus Is a Child, Except When a Parent Sues a Negligent Doctor or State Official (August 23, 2023). Slate (online), August 23, 2023, San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 23-031, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4551338

Dov Fox (Contact Author)

University of San Diego: School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110
United States
(619) 260-4600 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: https://www.sandiego.edu/law/about/directory/biography.php?profile_id=3332

Jill Wieber Lens

University of Arkansas - School of Law ( email )

260 Waterman Hall
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

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