HB 3374, the Down Syndrome Information Act, is gaining steam as an important piece of Texas legislation; as with any new bill, it has undergone some changes since being filed in an effort to gain the widest possible support among legislators. The bill would require a health care provider to give information about Down syndrome to an expectant or new parent at the time positive test results for Down syndrome are delivered. The source of this required information would be the Department of State Health Services website; it would include current, evidence-based information about Down syndrome, as well as contact information for national and local Down syndrome organizations.
The information on the state website would not present pregnancy termination as an option, but HB 3374 explicitly states that health care providers can provide additional information (without this limitation) to parents that is current, evidence-based and reviewed by experts. DSACT and other Down syndrome organizations across Texas could therefore continue to use the Lettercase booklet "Understanding a Down Syndrome Diagnosis" in our medical outreach efforts.
In an effort to get a good bill passed in the current political climate and finally address the needs of new and expectant parents, DSACT supports HB 3374 and calls upon our members to help get this important bill passed. HB 3374 is set for a hearing with the State Affairs committee on Wednesday, April 15. The two members of the State Affairs committee nearest to Central Texas are Rep. Marsha Farney (Georgetown) 512-463-0309 and Rep. John Kuempel (Seguin) 512-463-0602.
If you live in or near Georgetown or Seguin, you are constituents of these two Texas House members. Please call the House member nearest you NOW to ask him or her to support HB 3374 with the changes in the committee substitute presented by Rep. Geanie Morrison. You'll be helping the next generation of parents who will always remember the moment they found out their baby has Down syndrome.