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Texas lawmakers voted Thursday to pass a bill that allows babies born at hospitals in Dallas and Houston to be delivered to parents without their consent.
The legislation would allow a baby born with a congenital defect to be transferred to the hospital for a surgical procedure and then returned home to the parents.
The bill passed the House unanimously.
The Senate will consider the measure next week.
If the House approves the bill, the procedure would take place at the Honeybucket Baby Center in Dallas.
Greg Abbott is expected to sign the bill into law.
The state has been at the center of a national debate over whether to allow fetuses born with heart defects and other conditions to be born with permanent disabilities.
The debate has spilled into the federal government, where a coalition of advocacy groups is calling on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate the Texas legislation.
The Texas law would make the decision to transfer a baby who has congenital defects voluntary, but only if a health care provider feels there is a greater risk of serious harm to the baby’s developing brain and/or lungs.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association have both endorsed the right of a parent to refuse to accept a child with a developmental disability, even if it is the first born in the family.
The measure also would prevent hospitals from refusing to accept children with congenitally acquired diseases.
It would not change existing laws in Texas that require children with developmental disabilities to be taken from the hospital to live with their parents, and to have a birth certificate that indicates their birth and the date of birth.
In addition to the Texas law, the bill would allow children born with developmental disorders to be placed in foster care.
The new law also would establish a special committee to study whether the Texas bill would increase the costs of care and delay access to care for children with severe developmental disabilities.
Texas has already passed legislation that allows a baby with a neurological disorder to be raised in a family home.
The bill is similar to legislation passed in California in 2016 and New York last year that allowed for babies born after birth.