Texas Judge Rules: Pull The Plug

The mother died back in November, remember?
She’d made clear her wishes (as all of us ought)
But, sadly, this happened in Texas, the nexus
Of Christian intrusion in government thought
Her will was denied, for a baby that maybe
Would live for an hour, with help from machines;
The state says “we’ve got to complete us a fetus”—
To rescue the baby, whatever the means.

The judge, as the calm voice of reason, who sees, in
This case there are people, not robots instead,
With that, saw some facts had eluded–concluded
Essentially, mother and fetus are dead.
The statute, though not found unlawful, is awful;
A woman’s autonomy, Texas denies
The one thing that no one’s denying is… crying.
That’s kinda what happens when somebody dies

Without ruling on the constitutionality of the law (I am of two minds here–I wish it had been slapped down [can’t imagine it would be upheld], but this family has been through too much already, and I suspect this is a quicker and quieter end), a Texas Judge has found that Marlise Munoz is dead, and that her fetus is not viable, and has ordered that she be removed from the machines that turned her body into the state’s incubator. Which is what Ms. Munoz had expressed, what her husband and extended family had wanted, but which Texas law, as interpreted by the hospital, had seemingly denied.

My sympathies go out to the family. I know this is not an end, because these things never actually end… but at least it is the close of a particularly horrible chapter. And much as I would want to see the law overturned, holding your family hostage over that is every bit as bad as what the state just did, so that will have to wait.

After all this time… only now will the family be able to begin actual funeral plans. Texas should be ashamed, but I think the politicians there are immune.

Edited to add… perhaps the saddest thing I have read in years, the testimony of the husband, as reported by the NY Times:

“When I bend down to kiss her forehead, her usual scent is gone, replaced instead with what I can only describe as the smell of death. As a paramedic, I am very familiar with this smell, and I now recognize it when I kiss my wife. In addition, Marlise’s hands no longer naturally grip mine for an embrace. Her limbs have become so stiff and rigid due to her deteriorating condition that now, when I move her hands, her bones crack, and her legs are nothing more than dead weight.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I am a very smell-oriented person. I know exactly what he is saying, and it breaks my hearts.


  1. Al Dente says

    Texas should be ashamed, but I think the politicians there are immune.

    Naive Cuttlefish, you think politicians can be ashamed?

  2. chigau (違う) says

    My sympathies to the family.

    Why would anyone think that a judge us qualified to decide on a medical case?

  3. Cuttlefish says

    It wasn’t a medical case. The medical case was clear; she was dead. The legal case, though, depended on the interpretation of Texas law. Since she was dead, the law did not apply. (I shudder to think what might have happened had the judge heard she was merely in a coma, or a persistent vegetative state–the law would have applied then, and the ruling might well have been different.)

  4. douglasmcfarland says

    This story is so tragic. It is absolutely illustrative of the problem of telling people what they can do with their own bodies and why decisions about reproduction should be up to the people who are involved. It is hard to fathom how anyone in good conscious could force a family to go through this heart wrenching torment. The hospital DA and the State of Texas should be ashamed of themselves but I doubt they are.

  5. kevinalexander says

    On the other hand, if she’s only brain dead then maybe she can run for governor.
    Worked well for the other guys.

  6. stever says

    Let me guess: the State will appeal, obtaining a stay of the pull-the-plug order pending appeal. After all, there is still a little more misery to be wrung from that family, and misery is what the “Pro-Life!!!” position is really all about. It goes to the very core of Xtian theology: you have to SUFFER through this life, but if you do a good enough job of it there will be pie in the sky when you die.

  7. Trebuchet says

    Cue the religious right with “Obama murdering defenseless mothers and babies!” any minute now.

    What, Obama had nothing to do with it? That’s never stopped them before.

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