Texas Woman Forced to Stay on Life Support Likely Has Nonviable Fetus

The fetus of a woman in Texas who is being forced to stay on life support so she can serve as an incubator thanks to an obscure and wholly stupid state law is likely unviable and severely abnormal, according to a recent lawsuit filed to force doctors to remove her from life support.

Marlise Munoz, 33, is brain dead, and although her family, including husband Erick Munoz, says her wishes are to be removed from life support in the event of brain death, doctors at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth will not comply, because she had a 14-week-old fetus inside her. A Texas law mandating pregnant women stay on life support until their fetus is viable, is cited as the reason why.

However, lawyers who filed a recent lawsuit to compel the hospital to remove Munoz from life support say the fetus is no longer viable.

"Even at this early stage, the lower extremities are deformed to the extent that the gender cannot be determined," said attorneys Heather King and Jessica Hall Janicek in a statement. Gender can typically be determined between 18 and 20 weeks.

The lawyers also said the unborn fetus has fluid buildup inside the skull and possible heart problems. "Quite sadly, this information is not surprising due to the fact that the fetus, after being deprived of oxygen for an indeterminate length of time, is gestating within a dead and deteriorating body, as a horrified family looks on in absolute anguish, distress and sadness," said the statement.

The Tarrant County DA, who represents the hospital, has so far not commented on the matter.


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