Saturday, January 25, 2014

"Brain Dead" and Pregnant

A news story about a pregnant woman who is brain dead has nearly taken the media by storm almost as much as Terri Schiavo.

Marlise Munoz was found by her husband Erick Munoz when she was 14 weeks pregnant unconscious on November 26. Hospital officials believed it was due to a blood clot.  Marlise became brain dead and this has brought up a big debate.  Since she was pregnant and the unborn child is still alive, the hospital left her on life support despite wishes from her husband to remove her.

Many supporters on both the pro-life and pro-abortion movements have voice their opinions on the story. The pro-life side says the unborn child is still alive and a patient and should not be killed.  Moreover, the pro-abortion side claims that this is an affront on bodily autonomy.

The issue is extremely complicated because it brings to questoin what death is exactly and what can be and should be done if a brain dead woman is pregnant. Priests For Life director, Fr. Frank Pavone made a statement on the issue:

“The lawsuit launched by Erick Munoz is nothing less than an attempt to kill his wife and #unborn child. It’s a sad mockery of the meaning of fatherhood and of love, life and law.”

This statement brought outrage from pro-abortion supporters and media personalities on Fox New and elsewhere who considered them to be harsh and out of touch with reality. Erick Munoz claims that his wife is dead and is literally decaying before his eyes.  A judge recently ordered that the life support be removed after doctors stated that the unborn child had severe defects and would not survive outside of the womb.

This story is tragic and I feel for everyone. The Catholic ethics teach that the normal essentials (food/drink) be provided in order to allow a natural death and that no one should be kept alive by extraordinary means or artifical means if there is no chance of recovery. It acknowledges that brain dead people are in fact dead.


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