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Texas Bill Would Provide Representation for Fetuses of Brain-Dead Women
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Summary: A new bill in the state of Texas would provide representation for the fetuses of brain-dead women. 

A lawmaker from Fort Worth, Texas is pushing a new state law that will provide representation for fetuses in court hearings, according to The Dallas Morning News.


The law stems from the fight over Marlise Muñoz, who was pregnant and brain-dead in North Texas. She had been on life support for two months.

She collapsed at home in Haltom City in November of 2013 due to a blood clot. She was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth for scans, which revealed she was brain-dead.

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The family asked to have her removed from life support because her husband said she would have wanted it that way. The doctors refused to do so since she was already 14 weeks pregnant, which is a state law.

“We felt that they were pushing aside her wishes — pushing aside our wishes — and using Marlise as an experiment, if you will, to see how long the baby could survive,” said her mother, Lynne Machado.

Rep. Matt Krause, a Republican from Fort Worth, has created the proposal, which would appoint a representative to speak on behalf of a fetus when a pregnant woman is declared brain-dead or permanently incapacitated.

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“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,” Krause said. “The judge weighs everything and he or she makes their decision based on that.”

Machado said the family is insulted by the idea.

“To me that’s saying that my family was not looking out for the best interest of Marlise and the fetus,” Machado said. “We feel our actions and decisions were based on what was best for both of them.”

Hospital officials cited the Texas Advance Directives Act, which states that “a person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment” from a pregnant patient.

A ruling from a state district judge said the hospital was wrong since the patient was legally dead. There was no appeal and Muñoz taken off life support in January of 2014. She was 22 weeks pregnant at the time.

The family knows they made the right decision. They said it became difficult to visit after two months because of the smell of her decaying body. Machado said her daughter’s fingers broke when she tried to hold her hand during visits.

Her heart was re-started multiple times by doctors with injections.

“This by far was the hardest thing we had ever faced, but we were united in knowing that this is what we needed to do to honor Marlise’s wishes,” Machado said.

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Source: Dallas Morning News


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