Ashley Pardo—whose parental rights were violated in 2019—was among citizens who voiced their concerns Monday night about a controversial bill Pardo says would “essentially criminalize a parent for what they think or believe and put in their [child’s] medical record.”
On Monday evening, the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee held a hearing on State Rep. David Cook’s (R–Mansfield) House Bill 1773. The bill would criminalize Munchausen by proxy, which is defined as:
A psychological disorder in which a parent and typically a mother harms her child (as by poisoning), falsifies the child’s medical history, or tampers with the child’s medical specimens in order to create a situation that requires or seems to require medical attention.
Cook told committee members he was asked by Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn to carry the bill “on behalf of his daughter.”
Waybourn and his wife shared with committee members the story of their adopted daughter, Alyssa, who they said was abused by her birth mother who had also committed Munchausen by proxy. Waybourn argued Child Protective Services (CPS) is not trained for those types of cases and, unlike current law, he believes HB 1773 “would hopefully get us in front of those things.”
Ashley Pardo, a mother whose parental rights were wrongly violated in the past, disagreed.
In June 2019, Child Protective Services came to Pardo’s house—unannounced and with armed officers—and illegally took her 4-year-old son, Drake, who had many medical and developmental needs. CPS justified the raid by citing undisclosed “medical child abuse,” but eventually admitted they had no justification. The Texas Supreme Court ordered Drake to be returned home later that year, and last December the Pardos were removed from Texas’ child abuse registry.
“The way this bill reads it would essentially criminalize a parent for what they think or believe and put in their medical record,”
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