Update: Pregnant Woman on Forced Life Support to be Taken Off

In one of the saddest pregnancy news stories ever, there is more bad news for Marlise Munoz, the pregnant woman being forced by the state of Texas to remain on life support—even though she has been declared brain dead and her family say being on life support is against her wishes. Doctors now have confirmed what family members have feared all along, that the baby Marlise is carrying is not going to be a healthy one—if it can even survive under the harsh circumstances. The fetus is at about 22 weeks gestation (it was at 14 weeks when Marlise was pronounced brain dead).

The hospital said pulling the plug would violate a Texas law that says life-sustaining support can’t be withdrawn or withheld from a pregnant person. The goal of course is to keep the baby alive. But attorneys for Marlise’s husband, Erick, have announced as part of their lawsuit to get John Peter Smith Hospital in Forth Worth to remove Marlise from life support that the pregnancy is no longer viable. The child’s lower extremities are already “deformed to the point that the child’s gender cannot be determined” and that there is “fluid build up inside the skull and possible heart problems.”

“Quite sadly, this information is not surprising due to the fact that the fetus, after being deprived of oxygen for an indeterminate length of time, is gestating within a dead and deteriorating body, as a horrified family looks on in absolute anguish, distress and sadness,” said the statement.

A hearing in the case took place today, and Judge R.H. Wallace ordered that the hospital remove life support by 5 p.m. on Jan. 27. Soon Marlise’s family will no longer have to suffer watching their once vibrant wife, daughter, mother (she and Erick also have an 16-month-old son) lying in a hospital bed unresponsive since Thanksgiving. I’m glad Marlise, her unborn baby, and her family will soon find peace. Unfortunately in this sort of case there really isn’t such a thing as a happy ending.

TELL US: Do you agree or disagree with these laws that Texas and 11 other states have that disregard a woman’s end-of-life wishes while she is pregnant?

Image of candle courtesy of Shutterstock.

 

 

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  1. [...] in Texas who was kept on life support for weeks against her family’s will until a court finally overturned a state law protecting her fetus, and allowed her family to lay her and her unborn child to rest. [...]