Right To Life Case Tests Texas Law - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Right To Life Case Tests Texas Law

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Another case of exactly when someone should be allowed to die makes the news and tests the law in Texas.

Doctors say that Marlise Munoz is brain-dead in a Texas hospital. She collapsed in November, likely from a clot in her lung. Her parents and husband want her taken off life support.

However, the state of Texas won't allow it because Marlise is about 5 months pregnant and scans show that the baby's heart is beating.

A Texas law states that doctors quote, "may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment...from a pregnant patient."

And that law trumps what the family says was Marlise's wish not to be kept alive artificially.

Marlise's mother, Lynne Machado, tells FOX in an interview that quote:

"We know our daughter wouldn't want this. ...my husband and I had numerous talks with her. We were all floored when we found out about the law."

Nevertheless, supporters of the law, including Bobby Schindler, the brother of Terry Schiavo, says that the family can honor Marlise's wishes to be taken off life support after the baby is born.

Schindler previously fought against having his sister's feeding tube removed in 2005 in a controversial Florida legal battle.

"Texas law is giving the benefit of the doubt in this case to the unborn baby and we must do that. We must protect the lives of unborn children and in fact as I said, I can't imagine any mother would want to end the life of their baby," Schindler said.

The hospital says its hands are tied.

"For us, as the hospital system, there is no option. We have to follow the law as it applies in the state of Texas," J.R. Labbe of John Peter Smith Hospital said.

Marlise's husband, Erick Munoz, has said that he doesn't know how long the baby was without oxygen when his wife collapsed, and what problems the baby might have as a result. However, Bobby Schindler argues that while his heart breaks for the family, the state of Texas has a responsibility to give that baby a chance to be born. Marlise's family say they are going to try to get the law changed.

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