DSACT is pleased and proud to announce that Texas Rep. Geanie Morrison has filed HB 3374, a new bill that would require the provision of current information about Down syndrome to new and expectant parents at the time they receive test results that are positive for Down syndrome. The information would have to be evidence-based and reviewed by medical experts and national Down syndrome organization. The parents would also be given contact information for national and local Down syndrome organizations. This bill addresses the needlessly traumatic situation faced by many new and expectant parents who receive the diagnosis, but get no information about Down syndrome, or get only negative and/or outdated information. DSACT proudly supports HB 3374.
DSACT wants its members to be aware that a different bill has also been filed concerning the provision of information about Down syndrome to new and expectant parents. This bill prohibits the mention of termination as a pregnancy option when Down syndrome is prenatally diagnosed. Such a prohibition would eliminate the use of the best written resource for new and expectant parents, a booklet entitled “Understanding a Down Syndrome Diagnosis” which was exhaustively reviewed and then agreed upon by national medical and Down syndrome organizations. The national medical groups who reviewed the content of the booklet and agreed to be listed as reviewers did so only on the condition that all pregnancy options be mentioned – continuation, termination and adoption. There is no reputable resource that (a) has been reviewed by medical experts and local and national Down syndrome organizations, and (b) mentions only pregnancy continuation and adoption as options following a prenatal diagnosis. Therefore, if a bill was passed with this prohibition, an entirely new resource would have to be developed, and the medical community would likely dismiss it as a political instrument. It took many years to draft “Understanding a Down Syndrome Diagnosis” and gain the input and consensus of its various reviewers; this booklet has earned the respect of the Down syndrome and medical communities. In our view, new and expectant parents cannot be asked to wait many more years for a new, less credible resource to be developed when a valuable, strong resource already exists.
DSACT uses "Understanding a Down Syndrome Diagnosis" in its medical outreach program, and in many ways has built its strong program around the credibility of this resource and the support it received from the national medical and Down syndrome organizations who reviewed it. All of this would be lost if the bill with the prohibitory language was passed.
DSACT cannot support a bill with a political pro-life or pro-choice position. Instead, DSACT is strongly pro-information. For these reasons, DSACT supports only HB 3374 and does not support any other bill related to Down syndrome information. Please contact DSACT if you have any questions about our legislative efforts during this important session.