Sunday, February 25, 2018
Opinion

Take this woman off life support

Taking a family member off life support is never an easy decision, but it's what Erick Munoz believes his wife, Marlise, who worked as a paramedic, wanted. Marlise col lapsed right before Thanksgiving, likely because of a blood clot in her lungs, and was pronounced brain dead from lack of oxygen at the hospital. Her family wants to remove the ventilator keeping her body alive.

But there's a hitch.

Marlise Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant at the time of her collapse. Texas, where the Munozes live, is one of the 12 states in the country that forbids removing a woman from life support if she is pregnant.

Marlise Munoz and her husband are just the latest victims caught in the crossfire of abortion politics. Mandating that pregnant women stay on life support regardless of their wishes is a neat and easy way to establish the claim that the state has an interest in fetal life, even at the earliest stages, that overrides a pregnant woman's basic human rights. After all, brain death during pregnancy is incredibly rare, making these laws more symbolic in nature than pragmatic. If your goal is to legally enshrine the notion that pregnant women are incubators first and humans second, keeping their bodies alive to grow babies long after their minds are gone is a perfect way to do it.

Of course, rare doesn't mean impossible, as Marlise Munoz's family is discovering. "All we want is to let her rest, to let her go to sleep," Munoz's father, Ernest Machado, told the Dallas Morning News. "What they're doing serves no purpose."

The family reasonably fears that the loss of oxygen that was enough to destroy Marlise Munoz's brain probably did serious damage to her fetus.

To make it worse, by going public with their story, Munoz's family is being treated to a heavy dose of vicious anti-choice rhetoric. Erick Munoz has been the subject of ugly speculation online, with anti-choice commenters eagerly suggesting that he simply wants to "get rid" of his wife. The reality, however, is that by holding Marlise Munoz in this state, her family is not being allowed to lay her to rest and start the grieving process properly. Laws like this need to be overturned.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer.

© 2014 Slate

 
Comments
Editorial: Learning from St. Petersburg’s Sunshine Law violation

Editorial: Learning from St. Petersburg’s Sunshine Law violation

A recent state appeals court opinion strikes a victory for open government in finding St. Petersburg city officials violated the state’s Sunshine Law. City councils and other government panels in Florida are allowed to meet in secret only in very lim...
Published: 02/25/18
Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Gov. Rick Scott and key members of the Florida Legislature offered ambitious proposals Friday that would plug some holes in the state’s safety net, strengthen school security and spend up to a half-billion dollars in response to last week’s massacre ...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Enough is enough. The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has renewed conversations about gun control in Washington and Tallahassee. Young people are demanding action, and there are cracks in the National Rifle Association’s solid w...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nation’s conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places — South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington — as survivors, victims’ families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18

Editorial: FDLE probe of state fair fiasco falls short

It should go without saying that Florida law frowns upon public officials who take freebies from vendors and whose agency throws business to their family. But that wasn’t enough to move the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find that the ex-di...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18

Editorial: Nursing home rule should be stronger

It shouldn’t take months or another tragedy for Florida — which is hot and full of seniors — to protect its elderly population from heat stroke in the event of an emergency. That’s why Gov. Rick Scott had the right idea last year in calling for nursi...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.’’ A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he won’t raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trump’s claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nation’s 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18