Hospital: No decision on order to end life support

A spokeswoman for a Texas hospital won't say whether it will follow a judge's order to take a pregnant brain-dead woman off of life support.

Marlise Munoz, 33, who is believed to be about 22 weeks pregnant, "is deceased" and therefore not subject to a state law that prohibits withdrawal of treatment from a pregnant person, Judge R.H. Wallace ruled on Friday afternoon. The judge said the Fort Worth hospital had until Monday at 5 p.m. to remove Munoz from life support.

Hospital spokeswoman J.R. Labbe said that John Peter Smith Hospital wouldn't announce a decision on whether to appeal the ruling on Saturday.

The case has raised questions about end-of-life care and whether a pregnant woman who is considered legally and medically dead should be kept on life support for the sake of a fetus. It also has gripped attention on both sides of the abortion debate, with anti-abortion groups arguing Munoz's fetus deserves a chance to be born.

Husband Erick Munoz found his wife unconscious on Nov. 26, possibly due to a blood clot. He has said that she told him if she ever was in her present condition, she did not want to be kept alive.

The hospital says it has a legal duty to protect the fetus and is considering an appeal.

Contributing: Melanie Eversley, USA TODAY; Associated Press


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