Texas Bill Would Protect Right to Life of Unborn Babies if Mother Declared Brain Dead

State   Sarah Zagorski   Feb 13, 2015   |   6:03PM    Austin, TX

In 2014, a Texas hospital decided not to appeal a judge’s decision to allow a husband’s bid to remove his brain-dead pregnant wife from life support, an action that would end the life of his own unborn child. The woman, Marlise Munoz, collapsed in her home from a blood clot in her lungs when she was pregnant with her second child.

Initially the hospital refused to grant the husband’s request because of Texas’ Advance Directives Act, which reads, “A person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant patient.” But after the judges decision, the hospital followed the court order.

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Although it is true that not all cases involving brain-dead pregnant women result in the birth of a healthy child, doctors and family members should give unborn children a chance since their lives are just as valuable as their mothers. After the tragedy, Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, through a spokesman, said the case was a “heartbreaking tragedy” and that “Texas strives to protect both families and human life, and we will continue to work toward that end.”

Now, according to Christian News, Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) is working to craft a bill that would protect the rights of unborn children in such circumstances. If passed, Krause’s bill would allow for the baby to have his or her own representative in court, who would argue for the rights of the child.

Rep. Krause shared more with the Dallas Morning News. He said, “You’ll hear what the family wants, and you’ll also give the pre-born child a chance to have a voice in court at that same time. The judge weighs everything and he or she makes their decision based on that.”

This legislation is especially important because the designation of “brain death” is a controversial one and presents moral and ethical issues, particularly when two lives are involved. There are many cases where babies have survived after their mothers have experienced similar situations to that of Marlise Munoz.

For example, in January 2013, a little girl named Isabella Hope was born in Pensacola, Florida after her mom suffered a severe poly-substance drug overdose that nearly killed her. The doctors who treated the mother, who was only 8-weeks pregnant, said that her body was deprived of oxygen for approximately four hours. The overdose combined with the lack of oxygen left her brain damaged and she was put on life support at a local hospital.

Immediately after the mother’s tragic incident, doctors said there was no way her baby would survive and suggested that she be taken off life support. Thankfully, the maternal grandmother was against that proposition and said her daughter would want her child to have a chance. Today Hope is a happy two-year-old.

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There is a very strong possibility that Munoz’s baby could have survive, just like Hope, if she was given a little more time.

Unfortunately, Munoz’s parents are opposed to the pro-life bill. Munoz’s mother said, “To me, that’s saying that my family was not looking out for the best interest of Marlise and the fetus. We feel our actions and decisions were based on what was best for both of them.” Currently, Texas Alliance for Life and Texans for Life support Rep. Krause’s legislation