Titus: Abortion should be advised in some cases

Katie Titus

Erick Munoz found his pregnant wife, Marlise, lying on the kitchen floor Nov. 26. After rushing her to the hospital, she was determined to be brain dead. Four months later, a judge’s order to pull all life sustaining treatment from Marlise Munoz was put into effect. Taking Munoz off of life support was a tough decision for the family to make, but it was one that should have been made before nearly three months had passed.

Keeping Munoz alive was merely the fact that she was carrying a child. This leaves us with the question of at what point aborting, or killing the fetus, is considered to be acceptable. Munoz was 23 weeks pregnant when she died — a baby is able to feel pain at twenty weeks — meaning that had the plug been pulled on Munoz’s life support weeks before, the fetus would not have felt any pain.

Munoz and her husband were both paramedics and made the decision to not be on life support long before the incident had happened. It was unreasonable to keep Munoz alive against her wishes and those of her husband. Though she was carrying a child, the chances of the child being able to survive and have a healthy birth were slim to none. In no way, shape or form do I think that taking the life of a child is alright, and in most cases I would be against the abortion of a child. However, the high possibility of the child not having a life in any event, or being born to a dead mother means that it was the right decision to have pulled the plug.

Had the baby had a stronger chance of survival, it would have been more understandable to keep Munoz alive. This, however, is not the only situation that comes up where you have to choose between the life or death of an unborn child. There are instances where having a child could potentially kill the mother, and some cases where childbirth could kill both mother and child. In these types of instances, it would not be considered such a crime for a mother to decide to abort the child. This seems to be a similar situation to the circumstance of a mother already being legally dead.

The story of Marlise Munoz and her pregnancy comes down to the question of whose decision it should have been to keep her alive. It took a court order for the hospital to be allowed to take Munoz off life support, even though such a situation was against her and her husband’s wishes in the first place. It is state law in Texas that if a woman is with child, she is to be kept alive by life support, but the prospect for survival should be a factor. In a case where the mother is already legally dead and there is little progression of the pregnancy, they should not be working so hard to keep the fetus alive. It was not what the family wanted to happen and a child should be born into a family that is able to love and nurture it.

It is a true story of heartbreak to have to take Munoz off life support, especially considering the fact that it meant taking the unborn baby off life support as well. Despite this, if they were going to be taking Munoz off of life support, it should have happened when the fetus was at an earlier stage of the pregnancy.

Munoz was being kept alive for over two months before the court system decided to come in and do something about the issue, and that was in addition to the wait required for a decision to be rendered.

Whenever there is an instance where a life is being taken, especially in the case of a baby’s life, it is important to proceed with extreme caution and do what is best for both the mother and the child. In this particular case, they were right to end the misery that Munoz’s baby and family were going through.