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FORT WORTH, Texas (ChurchMilitant.com) — In a major victory for the pro-life cause, the Texas Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of a pro-death statute, granting a disabled toddler the chance to live.
"Today the Texas Supreme Court denied Cook Children's petition for review," said Kassi Marks, a pro-life Texas lawyer, in comments to Church Militant regarding Tinslee Lewis, a toddler whose congenital heart and lung disease from birth required a ventilator to assist with breathing.
"We are thrilled that the decision of the Fort Worth Court of Appeals stands and that Cook Children's Hospital may not remove Tinslee's life-sustaining care against her mother, Trinity's, wishes."
"We look forward to the next stage of litigation where we hope that this draconian state law — which allows involuntary passive euthanasia — is determined to be unconstitutional once and for all," she added.
For nearly a year, Cook Children's Hospital (CCH), which admitted her for treatment, has fought for the right to terminate her life. The hospital's "ethics panel" had determined that she failed to meet the quality of life threshold needed to continue treatment and decided to remove her breathing tube.
She was nine months old when CCH decided to enact the 10-Day Rule of the Texas Advanced Directives Act (TADA), which gave Tinslee's parents only 10 days to find another hospital willing to take her in. Facing an impossible task, Lewis' family contacted Texas Right to Life, which aided them with legal assistance to file an emergency restraining order.
In the subsequent legal battle, it was discovered CCH had lied about Lewis' condition, with false claims of "dying spells" and portrayals of the baby as essentially a lifeless husk. In July, however, two independent doctors, Glenn Green and Patrick Roughneen, determined Lewis' condition was treatable. They were willing to insert a tracheostomy (trach) tube, which would make it safe to transport Lewis to another facility.
CCH told the doctors they could not insert the trach unless Lewis' mother first agreed to sign a "do not resuscitate" order.
CCH was supported in the courts by the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops (TCCB), Texas Alliance for Life (called by some a "faux life" group) and various medical associations, which submitted their own amicus briefs before the Texas Supreme Court.
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas and bishop emeritus of Corpus Christi, Bp. René Gracida, were the lone Catholic prelates to break with the Texas bishops and back Lewis' cause.
Molly Smith, president of Cleveland Right to Life, told Church Militant, "What has just happened in Texas for the pro-life culture with the ruling by the Texas Supreme Court supporting the life of baby Tinslee is a moment that will be remembered throughout the nation as a turning point in the right direction for the pro-life movement."
Lewis' case now goes back to the trial court. Chief Justice Sandee Marion of the 4th Court of Appeals will hear the case to determine whether Lewis' rights have been violated and whether TADA is unconstitutional. Marion will operate within the 142-page guidelines set by the 2nd Court of Appeals after Lewis appealed Marion's original ruling.