Tinslee Lewis—the baby whose life has been targeted by a hospital invoking an unjust Texas law—may be bringing that very law to an end.

Last November, North Texas’ Cook Children’s Hospital invoked the state’s controversial 10-day rule to kill baby Lewis against the wishes of her mother. The baby’s life was saved only after lawyers with Texas Right to Life obtained a temporary restraining order to prevent Cook Children’s from removing life-sustaining care.

Texas Right to Life describes the 10-day rule as “the number of calendar days a vulnerable patient or her surrogate is given once a hospital committee declines to continue providing life-sustaining treatment to a patient, contrary to the patient’s expressed will and medical decisions.” In short, Texas Right to Life says the law allows a hospital committee to end “life-sustaining care” even if the patient—or his or her parents or guardians—objects.

In Fort Worth on Friday, the 2nd Court of Appeals granted a temporary injunction sparing Lewis’ life until a full trial. The court added the 10-day rule is “likely unconstitutional,” and its days could very well be numbered. The court concluded that the 10-day rule provides inadequate due process protections and that Tinslee Lewis’s and her family’s civil rights were violated by the decision to end her life.

This decision further vindicates Republican Judge Alex Kim, who last year signed the temporary restraining order that saved Lewis’ life after Cook Children’s invoked the 10-day rule.

Sources have said this is the reason why all cases involving Child Protective Services were stripped from Kim’s court earlier this year by a vote of the other district judges.

“I have seen firsthand with many families the destruction this law has on innocent Texans,” Texas Right to Life attorney Emily Cook told Texas Scorecard. “I am beyond excited for Tinslee, her mother, and every other vulnerable patient in Texas that the judicial system is seeing what legislators for years could not—this law is a blatant violation of due process rights and unconstitutional delegation of life-and-death power by the state to private entities.”

“I wholeheartedly commend the court for protecting this baby girl’s life and allowing her family members to fight for their daughter. Life is the first constitutionally protected interest, and this innocent baby girl must be afforded the rights she deserves,” said Attorney General Ken Paxton. “Patients must be heard and justly represented when it comes to determining their medical treatment, especially when their lives are at risk.”

Concerned Texans may sign this petition to end the 10-day rule.

This article has been updated since publication.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.


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