Texas man wants pregnant wife off life support despite state laws

Now, Munoz wants to take his wife off of life support, saying the couple had agreed they never wanted to be kept alive by a machine - though neither signed do not resuscitate (DNR) orders. However, according to state law, Munoz cannot remove his wife from life support while she is pregnant with their now-18-week-old fetus.

Though the unborn baby still has a heartbeat, Munoz said that testing options are limited, making it difficult to tell whether or not the fetus is actually viable, according to WFAA-TV.


Wow, what a terribly sad thing! Obviously, if the child is alive still, I want to see it born, but at the same time, I’m opposed to prolonging suffering. I’m afraid a court may have to step in here at some point. The family will be in my prayers.

What is the Catholic view of this? I can’t make up my mind. Is it wrong to let nature take its course? Should we be forced to use everything that medical science has to offer? Death is not evil if its natural.

I wonder the same thing…

It’s not like this child will be denied the Beatific vision. It’s mother, in all sense, is already passed…And it is, at this point in it’s life, dependent upon it’s mother’s body for life…It wasnt too long ago, prior to science being able to keep a body alive indefinitely, this child would have died with it’s mother

Can anyone answer this?

I am reading documents at the National Catholic Bioethics Center. I have not found anything relating to pregnant women on life support, but here is a FAQ on brain death.

Those with specific questions should contact the NCBC directly.

Well if it was my daughter I’d do everything I could to save my grandchild. And I’d hope my husband would want to save the child growing in me if I was this position. I just can’t even fathom how this father wants to cut off life support to his child. Especially at 18 weeks. Another few weeks and this child could probably be born, admittedly very premature but with a reasonable chance of survival. Why the rush? Why not even an attempt to give this child a chance at life?

This argument sounds very similar to the one made by pro choice advocates.

When I first read about this situation,my first inclination was to sustain the mom’s body to be used as a incubator until the fetus was viable, and longer if possible. But then I heard the husband say that he and his wife, both EMTs, discussed their end of life directives. She did not want extraordinary efforts made to keep her alive. But what really killed me was when the article I read mentioned their young son who watched his dad come home everyday from visiting mommy, wondering/hoping when his mom was coming home. It’s time to let this mom go. God has called her home.

Only if you take it out of it’s entire context…

(But then, in today’s day and age, when even the Holy Father’s comments are taking out of context, it should be expected. :slight_smile: )

I haven’t heard these reports, is he claiming she said to just let the baby die if she ended up on life support while pregnant. Because it’s one thing to say you don’t want to be on life support, it’s a whole other thing when you are pregnant and your child could be saved if only you are put on life support for awhile until the child can be safely delivered. As someone who faced dying of cancer but was lucky that treatment worked for me, I told my husband not to put me on life support. However as a mother, I’d never ever say that if I was currently pregnant.

The statements he made according to the OPs article seem to imply he is concerned that the child might have disability issues when it’s born.

Though the unborn baby still has a heartbeat, Munoz said that testing options are limited, making it difficult to tell whether or not the fetus is actually viable, according to WFAA-TV.

“They don’t know how long the baby was without nutrients and oxygen,” Munoz said. “But I’m aware what challenges I might face ahead.”

Cases like this really make me wonder why God is not calling these poor people home already? It is clear they are being kept alive by machines, but machines are not more powerful than God, so if God wanted them to die…they would die, but have to wonder why God is NOT causing their death, and allowing them to remain in this type of state.

Plus, they allow abortion, but in this case, they make a big deal about trying to keep the fetus alive…talk about a bunch of hypocrites! I wonder who they are trying to impress, God, the public, or themselves?LOL

God is clearly more powerful than humans, yet He allows wars, the atrosities of wars, torture, rape, murder and all kinds of violence. If God wants these people to live and not to be victims of violence why is He allowing such?

Must be His Will? Really?

Clearly He allows it. Why does He allow it?

This is a sad situation. However, the wishes of the couple are clear. This is certainly not a decision to be made by politicians or bureaucrats.

Who are the “they” you are referring to?

You might want to look up the definition of hypocrisy. No one but the mother has the legal okay to authorized the death of her child inutero. This law doesn’t interfere with that. Instead, it gives the child legal protections from being killed off against the mother’s wishes.

If the woman is clinically brain dead then she is not suffering! I don’t understand the “suffering” argument that is being presented by the husband. Therefore, I would like to see an attempt made to deliver the baby prior to removing life support. I am left wondering if there is something more going on with the husband regarding his responsibilities to raise and support the child if the child is born. Maybe, there is another reason and the husband is not wanting to admit it.

You cannot say with certainty that the child without baptism will not be denied the Beatific vision.

1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.59 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.60 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.61 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"63 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

It isn’t to keep the mother alive but to give a chance to the child to live.

I think the poor man just wants the pain of seeing his wife like this to end. And I have a lot of compassion for that. But this case really points out why this kind of law is needed. All of the discussion is about the husband and the wife and what they want or would have wanted. There isn’t anyone who is looking out for the wants and needs of the baby other than the law. Once the baby reaches the age of viability, which is just a few weeks from now, things may be very different. But until then, the law is the only thing that gives this baby any chance at all.

Thank you for pointing that out to me because it helps me feel compassion now. Truth be known, it makes me extremely grateful for the catechism that I have learned. I don’t know how I would have reacted had this happened to me over 10 years ago before I learned the catechism. I sent some prayers to the family.

This is truly a sad and difficult case. It is reminiscent of the Terri Schiavo case, only instead of removing a feeding tube and starving a woman to death, it would be removing a baby’s life support giving him/her no chance of survival.

I’m guessing the Church has several bioethics specialists working around the clock trying to answer this riddle, but until then, I will just offer the mother, the baby, and all others involved my prayers during this Christmas season.

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