Lawyers from a Fort Worth hospital are harassing a conservative organization in North Texas as part of their plan to combat a judge’s interference in killing a 9-month-old baby.
Tinslee Lewis was born with congenital heart disease. She is currently at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth and relies on a ventilator to live. On October 31, against the objections of Tinslee’s mother, the hospital announced it would remove the ventilator from Tinslee on November 10, thus killing her. No reasons relating to bodily health were given by the hospital. Instead, only a vague “quality of life” argument was provided.
The action by Cook Children’s is legal under Texas’ controversial 10-day rule, which allows a hospital committee to end “life-sustaining care” even if the patient, or his or her surrogate, objects; it also overrides a duly executed medical power of attorney or advance directive from the patient.
Tinslee’s life was temporarily spared when Judge Alex Kim of the 323rd District Court approved a temporary restraining order filed by lawyers from Texas Right to Life on her behalf on November 10—the day she was scheduled to die. A hearing originally set for November 22 was postponed until December 10 after the hospital dispatched its lawyers to try and force Judge Kim to be recused.
The lawyers have now issued a subpoena to True Texas Project, the North Texas grassroots activist organization—formerly known as Northeast Tarrant Tea Party—led by Julie White McCarty. The subpoena contains a draconian list of communications to be turned over to them, including:
- All documents and communications related to any endorsement of Judge Alex Kim’s judicial campaign by True Texas Project.
- All documents and communications related to any contributions True Texas Project made to Judge Alex Kim’s judicial campaign.
A similar subpoena was given to Empower Texans, the publisher of Texas Scorecard. The subpoenas included a deadline for compliance of less than 48 hours during the week of Thanksgiving.
Former State Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving), who is representing True Texas Project, issued the following statement to Texas Scorecard:
“Cook Children’s Medical Center is spending thousands of dollars to pay lawyers to harass citizens with no connection to this case other than they publicly shared the story of Baby Tinslee and solicited prayers and support for her family. It’s appalling. Cook Children’s Medical Center would rather spend money on lawyers trying to end a child’s life than trying to save it, or at least allowing Tinslee’s family an opportunity to transfer her to another facility where she will receive the care she needs.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has also weighed in on the case, filing a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that the 10-day rule is unconstitutional.
This situation would not have occurred had the Texas Legislature repealed the decades-old 10-day rule. Lawmakers killed the most recent repeal attempt in 2019’s purple session by failing to pass House Bill 3158, filed by State Rep. Richard Raymond (D-Laredo), or Senate Bill 2089, filed by State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola).
Lack of action on causes such as this triggered grassroots activists and organizations to ask Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session to enact the Lone Star Agenda, which features defending life as one of its objectives. A growing list of elected officials has also joined this call.
Tinslee and other patients across Texas will not be safe until lawmakers decide to prioritize the defense of life. The Office of Gov. Abbott can be reached here.