In what is coming as a relief to her surviving family, a Texas judge has ordered that hospital staff remove Marlise Munoz from life support and allow her to die, in accordance with family wishes. Munoz, who was hospitalized shortly after Thanksgiving, has been brain-dead since November 28th. Though doctors and medical staff declared that she stood no chances of recovering, the hospital was required by law to keep Munoz on life support after detecting a fetal heartbeat.
The story of Marlise and the struggle and pain of her family following her effective death and medically sustained vegetative state, became a focal point in the increasingly controversial arena of Texas’ reproductive rights legislation. Under current Texas law, medical practitioners and staff are prohibited from removing individuals from life support if the patient is found to be with child, regardless of the ultimate prognosis.
As the heart-rending story of the Munoz family unfolded in the public eye, many anti-choice advocates lashed out at Marlise’s husband Erick, claiming his desire to allow his wife to die with dignity was merely an attempt to avoid the responsibility of parenthood.
Pleas from the Munoz family, including Marlise’s parents, to allow her to die so as to allow the family to grieve and mourn the loss of their daughter, wife and mother, went largely disregarded by many throughout the state and the pro-life movement.
However following Friday’s admission by hospital representatives that the fetus Munoz was carrying was “not viable,” the judge overseeing the case gave the go-ahead for medical staff to remove her from life support, allowing her to die.