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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Marlise Munoz was 33 when she died.

She was at home when she collapsed from an apparent blood clot in her lungs. It was an hour or more before her husband, Erick, found her. He says doctors pronounced her brain dead, though John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, citing privacy concerns, has declined to confirm that diagnosis.

It is, at any rate, nearly a month and a half since this happened, yet Marlise remains hooked up to life support. Her mother wants her removed. Her father wants her removed. Her husband wants her removed. He says his wife — like him, a paramedic — specifically said she never wanted to be kept alive by artificial means.

But the hospital has refused the family’s requests, citing a Texas law that prohibits taking a pregnant woman off life support. And Marlise, the doctors found, was 14 weeks along.

As it happens, this family’s plight is the inverse of another that has recently transfixed the nation. Marlise’s family wants her removed from life support, but the family of 13-year-old Jahi McMath fought to keep her attached. McMath was declared brain dead by a hospital in Oakland, Calif., after complications from surgery to remove her tonsils. This triggered a legal struggle that was resolved last week when the hospital released Jahi to the coroner and the coroner released her to her mother’s custody. Jahi is now receiving “treatment” at an undisclosed facility and her family says her condition is improving.

It seems unlikely. The cessation of neurological function is not some “technical” death. Experts say that in such cases, the brain liquefies, which would seem to be about as dead as you can get. So one suspects Jahi’s family is simply seeing what it needs to see.

That said, who can blame them? Who among us has the right to foreclose their prayers or the wisdom to draw some hard and fast line beyond which faith becomes foolishness and steadfastness an excuse to ignore reality? Who among us in the same situation would want somebody to substitute their judgment for ours — particularly if that somebody was some politician who’d never met us or our loved one?

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    Yes. The State of Texas will fight to the last man to ensure that Marlise Munoz’ child is born. Then they will do their damnedest to ensure that they do nothing to help that child at all until the day he or she dies. BUT, they will maintain bragging rights that they fought the forces of evil that wanted to remove Ms. Munoz from life support, even though she is brain dead, and would not survive without machinery. So, the State of Texas has finally shown their true face – a woman is no more than a life-support system for the fetus in her womb. She has no value and no function other than her ability to bear a child to term.

    • disqus_fsqeoY3FsG

      Well said. Why is this family being forced to endure the heartache of watching their loved one lay there and, as her father said, “being a host for a fetus”. The state of Texas is turning this poor family’s tragedy into a Sci-Fi movie.

  • MasterWes

    Chew on this twist. What would happen if the family moved to a more sympathetic state, taking her along with them, so that upon placing her in another state hospital, they would not be stopped by the state for granting her final wish? Would Texas fight the move, force them to leave her in the hospital? Or, would they take out murder warrants on them for the death of the fetus, and hound them until their collective last day, unable to return to visit relatives in Texas? Interesting thought, isn’t it?

  • daniel bostdorf

    I agree with Pitts when he states:
    “This is what makes the situation in Texas particularly galling. Why is
    the state — not a doctor, not a faith leader, but the state —
    interposing itself in one of the most wrenching and intimate moral
    choices a family can ever make? What gives it the right?…..the state’s interference in this family drama highlights the loophole in
    that ethos. Its advocates want small government when it comes to
    regulating firearms, the environment, education, business and taxes. But
    when it comes to regulating your personal morality, the same people
    suddenly want government to be the opposite of small. They want it big
    enough to peek over your shoulder, the better to ensure your choices
    line up with its ideas of right and wrong.”

    This is the core argument. Interferring with parental rights only when convenient for a political right wingparty in Texas…

    Interesting article here regarding a parents child rearing rights.

    U.S. Supreme Court Limits Government Ability to Interfere with Parents’ Child-Rearing Decisions

    • Independent1

      As I think others have pointed out, the GOP doesn’t really want smaller government, they just want the parts of government that they don’t agree with to go away, while they spread government’s control to more areas of our personal lives.
      If not, why did Reagan and Bush 2 increase the size of government by more than 280,000 workers? It was Clinton who reduced it by more than 380,000 such that our government today is 330,000 workers smaller than when Reagan left office in 1989. And why did all governments combined across the nation grow by over 950,000 when Bush 2 was in office; while they have shrunk by more than 600,000 since Obama has been in office?

  • When they say they want small government, what they really mean is that they want a government incapable of preventing them from robbing the rest of us blind.

    When it comes to protecting them while they rob us, or kicking poor people when they’re down, the G.O.P. can’t get enough of that “big gub’ment intervention” they so frequently condemn. In a perfect Republican world, government’s only function would be ensuring that the wealthy stay wealthy and do nothing for everyone else.

    • liberals_steal_your_money

      Republicans want small government, what they really mean is that they want to stop the liberal government from robbing the rich and giving it to the lazy blacks. When are the liberals going to stop robbing the rest of us blind.

      When it comes to protecting the poor while the democrats rob us to buy votes the GOP is always there to lend a helping hand. The democrats like kicking poor people when they’re down, the G.O.P. tries to help, but the democrats can’t get enough of that “big gub’ment intervention” they so frequently praise.. In a perfect Republican world, government’s only function would be to protect this country and enforce our laws. The democrats just want the wealthy to stay wealthy and do nothing for everyone else.

  • Landsende

    One question no one has addressed is if they are forced to leave her in the hospital against their wishes even though she is brain dead, who is responsible for the medical bills which will be well over a million dollars. The insurance companies will not pay if a person is declared brain dead, and if the hospital is forced to absorb the cost they will just pass the cost on to other patients and taxpayers. Since she was not found until an hour later and was already dead if the child is born with disabilities who will pay for the care it needs? It sure won’t be the state of Texas who refused to expand Medicaid for millions of their citizens. It is really scarey that the wishes of the family can be overridden by the hospital and the state.

    • daniel bostdorf

      The Lesson of Terri Schiavo by David E Ross:

      • Landsende

        Thanks for the link. I remember when the Terry Schiavo case happened and was outraged that strangers and politicians were allowed to interfere in something that should have been Michael Schiavos decision. Unfortunately nothing has changed and the tragedy that befell Marlis Minoz is being used by politicians and zealots to advance their own agendas with no thought to the feelings and rights of her family.

  • Pamby50

    As I was reading this article, I was getting madder. Who died and made the Texas republican party God? It doesn’t matter that there was an advance directive saying she didn’t want to be on life support. If there is a fetus involved, the mother has no rights. How do you expect this family to heal? Do you expect them to come to the hospital to see a dead body for the next 6 months? Do you expect them to be happy about this baby? What if this child has problems due to the mother being kept on life support? Is the state of Texas going to pay for all this nonsense?

  • charleo1

    Hypocritical? Sure. Interfering, Big Brother Government, imposing itself arbitrarily, and unapologetically, on tax paying, law abiding citizens? It’s
    exactly what it looks like, oppression. So, let’s be clear about that. What
    it also is, is the results of Republican policy, writ large, being so distasteful
    to such a wide swaths of the general electorate, they, (Republicans,) have been forced, in order to remain politically viable, to adopt this minority of essentially, ideological Theocrats. Now, as to Republican philosophy on economics, regulation, taxes, small Govt, big Govt. feed the poor, let them starve, high debt, low debt. None of this matters to this group. As long as they see their interpretation of Biblical Law, coming out of the mouths of Republicans. And, they see the politicians they decide to support doing at least something to impose, and enforce those sets of laws, on a State, or a Nation at large, they are content. Or, at least were. Republicans for years paid ample lip service to this faction of their Party. Opposing abortion on principal. Campaigning with an assortment of influential ministers. Opining that America is, and always was a Christian Nation, and it was these bedrock, “Family Values,” that kept God pleased, and blessing America. But in actuality, doing very little, or nothing, as year after year, Republican Administrations came and went. Their Jurist duly appointed to high courts, and still, legal abortion was the law of the land. Enter George W. Bush, and Republican Armageddon, 2008. Christian Conservatives saw their chance to be truly important. On your knees, Brother! And, suddenly views about the separation of Church and State, not a particularly partisan issue, were now being promulgated by a “Secularist Anti-Christian,” faction. And, with the near economic collapse, “Socialist,” was added. So, Democrats became, “Secular Socialists,” or the “Secular Socialism,” that Newt Gingrich called, “America’s number one problem.” When the Left ceased to be the political opposition, and became the arch enemy, dead set on denying Christians their religious freedoms. As several bright Red, Bible Belt States incorporated Anti-Sharia Laws into their State Constitutions. The majority of America, looked on perplexed, as the Country muddled through an economic crisis, a cratering Middle Class. Republicans were fixated on abortion, and it’s associated issues of contraception, women’s healthcare, reproductive Rights, and changing the legal definition of rape. None of which makes any sense, until looked at through the backdrop of the terrible state of affairs of the politics, and the possibly insurmountable challenges facing the Conservative Right. In a quickly changing America, a Party clinging desperately to a disappearing past, aganist a tide of inevitable change.

  • jointerjohn

    Republicans don’t care about the brain function of a woman. As long as her baby-making parts are still working she is all they ever wanted a woman to be anyway. She is quiet, not voting, and making a baby. The perfect republican woman.

    • daniel bostdorf

      The whole basis for extreme GOP view of women:
      Women are NOT equal to anyone.

      They are to be controlled…it goes on an on…sounds like rabid Catholics…

      I believe in the true Rabbi Jesus that would defend women’s health rights…

      Where is the GOP Christians on this???

      What scares the crap out of extreme Catholics and similar extreme
      mindsets in other religions is that all prophets of any creed or
      religion understands equality of all…

      Religion controls the soul.
      Politics controls the mind.



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      • Independent1

        Daniel, as I see it, the problem is that the Catholic Church and many others, have like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, missed many of the messages that God has sent us; not only through Jesus’ words but also through the changes in what he expects of us in being able to attain to Heaven.
        When God made Adam and Eve, he wanted to populate the earth. So He allowed Adam and Eve’s early decendents,to have multiple wives. God did not find fault with Abraham, Issac, Jacob and their children when they had children with their wives’ hand maidens and even concubines. God did not make a big issue even about divorce when Moses allowed the Hebrews to divorce their wives with just a written decree.
        But when Jesus came, it seems clear to me, that God had decided that humans had sufficiently populated the earth, and that it was time to establish a different standard: that marriage should be monogamus. God had Jesus make it crystal clear that a man was to have one wife and that adultery was a grave sin; even saying that if a man looked lustfully after a woman, he had committed adultery in his heart.
        God didn’t change His standard of allowing bigamus relationships and even divorce to suddenly saying a man should have only one wife for no purpose. God is smarter than we are and even 2,000 years ago could see that the earth’s population was growing too quickly (remember, he promised to never submit the earth to a flood again).
        So it’s my sense , that the Catholic Church and others with their focus on doing everything they can to prevent minimizing the earth’s population growth by being against abortion, contraceptives and even family planning – are in fact doing everything counter to God’s objective of slowing down the earth’s population from beyond its ability to sustain human life.

      • liberals_steal_your_money

        Women can’t compete with men on the battlefield. They endanger the real soldiers by their weakness.