After months of legal wrangling, a pregnant woman in Texas who has been brain-dead since a November pulmonary embolism has been taken off life support.
According to Yahoo, the family of 33-year-old Marlise Munoz said Sunday afternoon that she was removed from life support around 11:30 a.m. following a judge’s ruling that a Fort Worth hospital was misapplying state law in the case.
The hospital had argued Texas law obligates it to protect the fetus, even though Erick Munoz says doctors had told him the fetus was no longer viable after losing oxygen during his wife’s pulmonary embolism.
A statement sent Sunday afternoon by lawyers for Munoz say his wife’s body has been released to him and he and other family members are looking to lay her to rest.
In response to the legal skirmish and the judge’s ruling, the hospital had this to say in a statement:
“From the onset, JPS has said its role was not to make nor contest law but to follow it… On Friday, a state district judge ordered the removal of life-sustaining treatment from Marlise Munoz. The hospital will follow the court order.”
Judge R.H. Wallace had given the hospital until 5 p.m. Monday to comply with his ruling to remove Munoz from life support, which Erick Munoz says is what his wife would have wanted.
The case has raised interesting questions about whether a legally and medically dead pregnant woman should be kept alive for the sake of a fetus. Anti-abortion groups have joined the conversation, arguing Munoz’s fetus deserves a chance to be born even if it goes against Marlise Munoz’ wishes.
As I wrote the first time I read about this case, I applaud the judge’s decision to order the hospital to take Marlise Munoz off life support. “I absolutely support Munoz’s decision to take his wife off life support. She is basically dead. The fetus would not survive outside the womb which means it would’ve died along with its mother. At some point, we need to stop playing God and let people go when their time comes. If the baby had been weeks from its due date, able to survive outside the womb on its own, that’s one thing. But keeping a woman alive for months and months against what her husband says her wishes would’ve been isn’t ethical.”
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