Law requires guardian ad litem for unborn baby whose mom is on life support
A Texas lawmaker has proposed legislation to grant a legal guardian to an unborn children when the pregnant mothers is strategically on life support on the state.
The law stems from the case of over a year ago involving pregnant mother Marlise Munoz after her family was forced to go to court to remove her from life support.
In November of 2013, when Marlise Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant she suffered a pulmonary embolism. Her husband and her parents asked John Peter Smith Hospital (JPS) to discontinue all life-sustaining treatment for her, which would have resulted not only in her death, but that of her unborn baby.
Hospital officials refused the family’s request citing the Texas Advance Directives Act, a law which prohibits withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from a pregnant patient.
But the family vowed to take their request before a court alleging the unborn child was damaged and unhealthy.
After the news went public, pro-lifers stood vigilant outside JPS Hospital in Ft Worth reminding hospital officials that there were two patients to consider and one of them, the unborn child, was not getting a voice.
Within weeks, District Judge R.H. Wallace ruled the pregnant mother should be removed from life support.
Pro-lifers were saddened and held a memorial outside the hospital to remember both Marlise and her unborn child.
Now, a Texas state Representative has filed a unique law that would grant an unborn child a guardian ad litem in cases like the Munoz case.
The law, known as the Unborn Child Due Process Act, was filed by Texas Congressman Matt Krause.
“Current Texas law states that life-sustaining treatment may not be removed from a pregnant patient. Should a family desire to remove their unconscious, pregnant family member from life support they must first go to court and get permission from a judge,” said Rep. Matt Krause, who filed the proposed legislation. “H.B. 1901 amends the law so that even if it appears that the mother is brain dead, as long as the unborn child is maturing and developing, life-sustaining treatment may not be removed. The appointed guardian ad litem’s job is to look after the interest of the unborn child and ensure that the judge has the best information possible on the condition of the child when making their ruling.”
“H.B. 1901 doesn’t force a family to go to court. It only ensures that an unborn child’s voice is heard,” said Rep. Matt Krause in his press release. “Our Constitution clearly states that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law. I will continue to defend that unalienable right for the voiceless.”
The lawmaker appeared on Dallas’ Lonestar Politics this Sunday to discuss the bill.
Rep. Krause said that this legislation could have helped the court in the Munoz case make a more informed decision by providing a spokesperson for the unborn child, “Anytime there is a court battle weighing these decisions we thought how about there is a voice for the unborn child,” Krause told the news station.
He explained that the guardians for the unborn child would be appointed from a registry put together in advance by the State’s Attorney General.
The state rep said that normally he would not favor intruding in a family’s personal medical decisions, but, “In this situation there’s an extra life that comes into play which kind of changes the whole dimension and whole dynamic of the situation. And, that’s why we’re looking to give that unborn child representation.”
Krause was asked about how giving a fetus legal representation could affect abortion rights.
“You can never say for sure what’s going to happen,” Rep. Krause said, “But this is such a rare an extremely rare circumstance that I don’t think there’s that danger there that its going to create a whole new class of rights. You’re just saying….maybe there should be that voice for the unborn…”
Unfortunately, members of the Munoz family have introduced what they call, Marlise’s Law, which is legislation that would remove part of the Texas Advanced Directives Act which states “a person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment” from a pregnant patient.
The bill, was filed this month by Austin Democrat Rep. Elliott Naishtat and introduced to the media in a press conference hosted by the ACLU of Texas.
This entry was posted on March 23, 2015 at 4:49 am and is filed under Life Support, Texas Abortion with tags baby, coma, directive, guardian ad litem, H.B. 1901, legal guardian, Life Support, Marlise Munez, Marlise’s Law, pregnant mother, Pro-Life, Rep Matt Krause, unborn child, Unborn Child Due Process Act. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.