‘Pro-life’ until birth: Muñoz case highlights political tensions in Texas
Seven weeks after collapsing from a suspected pulmonary embolism, 33-year old Marlise Muñoz remains artificially alive in a Fort Worth hospital’s intensive care unit. By fiat of Texas law, she can’t be permitted to die because she’s pregnant. Her fetus is alive but still weeks away from viability outside the womb.
The tragedy has thrust her family into a maelstrom of medical, legal, philosophical and political questions, turning their private agony into a very public issue in the Lone Star State.
The family says it wants to switch off the machines and let Muñoz die with dignity. All she is now is “a host for a fetus,” her father, Ernest Machado, told The New York Times. But John Peter Smith Hospital has invoked a state law prohibiting the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from a pregnant patient. The hospital argues it cannot legally allow the woman — and therefore her fetus — to die.
Photo: Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT/Landov
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