(Read this news story here before continuing on.)
This post is an extension of Tuesday's post which I felt would benefit better being broken up into two opinionated stories, although you don't necessarily have to read Tuesday's for today's to make sense if you're catching my drift here.
Anyways, this news story has been weighing a lot on my mind recently. In summary, Marlise Munoz was found unconscious over eight weeks ago (the article says seven, but it's been a week since then) in her kitchen floor. She was immediately rushed to the hospital and soon after was said to have lost "all activity in her brain stem," all the while, she was 14 weeks pregnant with her and her husband's second child.
It is unclear what happened to her, but it was her wishes to not have her life sustained by medical interventions, yet despite her husband's plea to allow her to "move on", the hospital refused with a peculiar piece of Texas legislation backing them up. Now as a recent graduate of my tenth grade civics and economics class, I know a thing or two about Texas and their standings on abortion (see Roe vs Wade), but this law was quite shocking to me. They abide by the law stating "you cannot withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment for a pregnant patient," which I believe the first part is somewhat reasonable as we don't want a pregnant woman being denied health care (although, let's be real, who would actually do that?), but the second part is outright unbelievable.
There are multiple points that should be looked at within this case, but let's start with Mrs. Munoz's wishes. Sadly, her wish to not have her life extended by life support was never written down (although even if she had, Texas law would override her wishes), but both her husband and parents were knowingly aware of what she wanted and they consistently relayed this to her medical team. According to her husband, the doctors refused to answer his questions as to whether she was "brain dead", even though they had told him when she was first admitted that she had lost all activity in her brain stem and he even looked through one of her charts which stated she was indeed brain dead, making everything look all the more sketchy. The true underlying problem of this point is the fact that a person's very FINAL wish of her entire life, can't be carried out simply because she's carrying another human being. The law claims to "protect the fetus", but whose protecting the female?
Now another prospective to be looked at is how the family felt through this situation. It's obvious through their pleas that they wanted nothing more than to have her wishes respected and allow them to bury her and be able to grieve properly. Need I even mention they had to suffer through the holidays seeing their dead loved one being kept alive against every one's wishes. Through the multiple news articles I've combed through regarding her case, her parents and husband seem to express consistently about the extra grief they've had to endure because of the fact that they have to continuously fight for their daughter's rights to her body and her mom even described the time as "a living hell". The husband describes how his wife no longer looks like his wife, that her eyes are soulless, her bones crack when you move them, even her usual scent has been replaced by the "smell of death". Can you imagine going in to see your significant other like this every day for over two months?
Through the whirl wind of trying to fight for Mrs. Munoz's rights, it would make sense to contemplate how the baby is doing during this time, as it is the fundamental reasoning for keeping her "alive". Mrs. Munoz was discovered at 2 am on November 26 and was unconscious for an indeterminable amount of time, resulting in the fetus being deprived of oxygen for who knows how long, and it's basic biology to know that babies cannot successfully thrive in oxygen depleted environments. While at first, because the fetus was so young, there wasn't much they could do to determine the status of the baby, but as her case progressed, they received some news, that I'm sure we all knew was coming. The child was (as one article claims) 'distinctly abnormal' and had many medical issues. Its lower extremities were completely malformed to such an extent that they couldn't determine the gender, and the child suffered from hydrocephalus, along with numerous other issues including a possible heart problem that can't be confirmed because of Mrs. Munoz's state of her body. (All of this information can be found here.)
One of the biggest reasons that got me extremely annoyed over this case, is the fact that this woman's body has been downgraded and seen only as an incubator to keep her child alive, throwing her life and final wishes to the way side. I think people who believe that Mrs. Munoz and her family should put their feelings and wants away until she can lay in a hospital on a ventilator for months upon months until her due date arrives, should realize that her child dying along with her is the natural order of things. To go along with many conservative, pro-lifer's train of thoughts, how do you not know that the child dying along with her is God's will? God didn't tell you via the Bible that in all cases similar to this, that the woman's body should be kept artificially functioning to save the babies life. Allowing her (and her fetus) to die, doesn't make you a murder. The woman's body (in terms of pregnancy), is intended to keep the baby alive, not machines, not ventilators, her. A woman's wishes shouldn't be disregarded because she's pregnant.
In a happy turn of events, with the help of lawyers and judges and courts, the hospital was ordered to take her off the ventilator, ending this horrendous strain of events.
This article doesn't necessarily relate to my feelings in terms of abortion (I've got one big complicated story in terms of that), but I think this is downright outrageous. I don't even think your opinion on abortion should influence your opinion on this case in a way. By taking her off life support, the doctors aren't committing an abortion, they're simply allowing "nature to take its course" if you will. Pregnant women die in car crashes every day, and with that their fetus dies too. It's how it works, it's how God intended this to work.
End rant. Have a fabulous day.