Pregnant Woman Kept On Life Support Despite Family's Wishes
A 33-year-old Texas woman named Marlise Munoz has been connected to life support machines for more than a month, after she collapsed on the kitchen floor of her home.
Her husband says she would not have wanted to be kept alive this way, but the hospital has refused to follow that wish, citing a Texas law that forbids medical officials from cutting off life support to a pregnant patient.
The New York Times calls this case “a strange collision of law, medicine, the ethics of end-of-life care and the issues swirling around abortion — when life begins and how it should be valued.”
“I think the law is unconstitutional,” bioethicist Art Caplantells Here & Now’s Robin Young. “I don’t think women in Texas or anywhere should be compelled to have to go as long as nine months on machines when they are dead because they were one day pregnant. I think the legislature also has written it too broadly: premature fetus, unviable fetus. You’ve got to take those factors into account.”
- Art Caplan, bioethicist and founding head of the Division of Bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center. He tweets @ArthurCaplan.
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