Should Brain Dead, Pregnant Woman Be Taken Off Life Support?

Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Monday, January 13, 2014

Should Brain Dead, Pregnant Woman Be Taken Off Life Support?

Debate is swirling over whether to take a brain dead woman off life support. She is also 20-weeks pregnant.

Because Marlise Munoz, 33, is pregnant, John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas says that it cannot legally remove her from the ventilator due to the Texas Advance Directive Act. That act says that “withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment” from a pregnant woman.” The hospital wants to keep Munoz on life support until the baby can be delivered at 24 to 26 weeks.

Some have sided with Marlise Munoz’ family, arguing that the family has a right to choose life support. The family also argues that Munoz would not have wanted to stay on life support. Others say the child should be kept alive.

The national abortion advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice America has launched a petition to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, asking him to support the family.

“The Munoz family deserves better than this—and it’s up to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to show them that the state of Texas respects their wishes and their privacy,” the petition says.

Joe Pojman, however, of Texas Alliance for Life, says that he supports the hospital for following the law.

“We commend the hospital for apparently doing everything possible to protect the life of the unborn child, who in our view is a separate person,” he told the Dallas News.

In November, Munoz collapsed on the floor after checking on her infant son. Doctors said that she suffered a blood clot in her lung. 

Publication Date: January 13, 2014.