Press Statement
Women’s Health Leader Applauds Proactive Efforts in Texas to Get Politics Out of the Exam Room and Protect the Dignity of Patients and Families

“I applaud the Trust. Respect. Access. campaign for advancing proactive policy proposals to protect women’s health and rights and get politics out of exam rooms in Texas.

It is shameful that politicians have been passing ‘bad medicine’ laws that interfere with the relationship between women and their health care providers across this country. These laws create barriers that impede women’s access to the health care they need. Most Americans oppose the extremist anti-choice agenda that drives these callous measures.

I commend Texas State Representative Donna Howard (HD-48) for taking action and introducing House Bill 1210 last month to get politics out of the exam room. This bill aims to stop the state of Texas from forcing health care providers to choose between violating their medical training and ethical obligations or violating the law. HB 1210 would keep medical care where it should be — between a woman and her doctor. This bill is part of an important trend as legislators around the country push back against these intrusions.

And I am so pleased that today Texas State Representative Elliott Naishtat (HD-49) introduced Marlise’s Law. The tragic case of Marlise Munoz is a clear example of the devastating impact of ‘bad medicine’ laws. Her family was denied the right to execute an advance directive and to decline extraordinary end-of-life medical interventions. Texas law compounded her family’s pain and helped no one.

This new legislation is an important step in the right direction in terms of protecting the dignity of patients and families, and prohibiting politicians from interfering in deeply personal decisions about health and medical care. We are humbled by the courage of Ernie and Lynne Machado, parents of Marlise Munoz, and Erick Munoz, husband of Marlise Munoz, in coming forward today to tell their story. We hope their efforts will mean that no other family is impacted by this callous law as they were.

Politicians should not dictate how doctors care for patients, or substitute ideology for sound medical judgment. Doing so undermines the essential trust between health care providers and patients that is the very foundation of our health care system.

These two proactive bills would get politics out of the exam room and protect the patient/provider relationship. It’s about time.”

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About the National Partnership for Women & Families

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family.

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