Archive for Marlise Munez

Law requires guardian ad litem for unborn baby whose mom is on life support

Posted in Life Support, Texas Abortion with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2015 by saynsumthn

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.

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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.

Sue and son signs

Troy Newman Praying

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.

Rep 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.

The bill has been filed and referred to State Affairs Committee and is awaiting a hearing.

Rep Matt Krause Lonestar Politics Baby prolife

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.

Munoz family releases statement on unborn baby whose mother is on life support

Posted in Life Support with tags , , , , , , , on January 23, 2014 by saynsumthn

Written by: Carole Novielli

Update at 4:17 p.m.:

The judge has sided with the family of Marlise Muñoz and ordered JPS Hospital to declare the pregnant woman dead and withdraw life support by 5 p.m. Monday.

Muñoz husband, Erick Muñoz, declined to comment as he left the courtroom. His attorney Jessica Janicek said justice was done.

Larry M. Thompson, attorney for the hospital, referred comment to JPS.

Munoz’s other attorney, Heather King, would not discuss the hospital’s argument, noting that JPS had the option to appeal the decision by Monday afternoon.

Read more from the DMN:

Attorneys for the family of a pregnant Haltom City woman who has been on life support at John Peter Smith Hospital for eight weeks issued a statement late Wednesday that the fetus is “distinctly abnormal.”

munoz family

“[T]he fetus is distinctly abnormal,” said Muñoz family attorneys Heather King and Jessica Janicek in the statement. “Even at this early stage, the lower extremities are deformed to the extent that the gender cannot be determined.”

Munoz Statement

The attorneys say the fetus has hydrocephalus (water on the brain), and a possible heart problem, though details can’t be determined “due to the immobile nature of Mrs. Muñoz’s deceased body.”

The fetus, which was deprived of oxygen for “an indeterminate length of time, is gestating within a dead and deteriorating body as the horrified family looks on,” the attorneys said.

Marlise Muñoz, 33, was 14 weeks pregnant when she collapsed Nov. 26. She was taken to JPS, where doctors told her husband that she was brain-dead. He and other relatives asked that life support be removed.

The attorneys ended the statement reiterating the complaints filed in the suit are not directly related to the condition of the fetus, but rather to the vital status of the mother, saying the statute requiring life-sustaining measures for a pregnant patient “does not apply to the dead.”

“Were that to be true, then it would be incumbent upon all health care providers to immediately conduct pregnancy tests on any woman of childbearing age who becomes deceased, and upon determining the deceased body was pregnant, hooking the body up to machines in an attempt to continue gestation,” the statement reads. “Surely, such a result was never intended nor should it be inferred.”

Fort Worth attorney Trent Loftin, who isn’t connected to the case, said he believes Friday’s hearing in front of District Judge R.H. Wallace likely won’t be the end of the case.

“I think whatever the judge decides, the other side will appeal to the second court of appeals and eventually to the supreme court of the state of Texas,” Loftin said.

Pro-life citizens of Texas recently rallied in support of the Texas law saying the law protected life. (click here for more quotes, vids and pics of that rally

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Pastor Stephen E. Broden of Fair Park Bible Fellowship and Founder of National Black Pro-Life Coalition told supporters, “There is a baby, the baby is alive…There is an alternative for the family. There are families willing to take the baby and provide a safe place for it to grow in a loving environment. If we err, we should err on the side of life,” he said.

WFAA protest

“We feel great compassion for the family of Marlise Munoz and her pre-born baby. No one ever wants to be in their difficult and tragic situation,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue who suggested the vigil to local activists. “Marlise wanted this baby, and as long as there is a chance that he or she can be saved, we support John Peter Smith Hospital in their bid to follow the law and protect this baby’s life.”

January 22, 2014 Anderson Cooper’s panel discussed the Marlise Munoz case – the family wants her removed from life support which would kill the unborn child who at this point is almost 24 weeks along.


Anderson Cooper falsely states that Marlise Munoz had a written statement of her wishes and after the show he gave a statement of correction not showing on this video.

Unborn baby granted time as Judge recuses herself from Muñoz case

Posted in Life Support, Stephen Broden with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2014 by saynsumthn

State District Judge Melody Wilkinson has recused herself from hearing a suit against JPS Health Network that was filed this week by the family of a pregnant Haltom City woman who is brain dead and being kept on life support against the family’s wishes, according to the Ft Worth Star Telegraph.

Neither judge Wilkinson nor the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office would elaborate on the move, but Bud Kennedy, a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, tweeted Thursday that Wilkinson’s campaign treasurer is also general counsel for JPS Health Network, the hospital’s parent company.

munoz family

Marlise Muñoz, 33, has been hospitalized since just before Thanksgiving after she was stricken with what doctors believe was a pulmonary embolism. She was 14 weeks pregnant. After doctors told the family that she was considered brain-dead, the family asked that life support be removed.

Her husband, Erick Muñoz, sued JPS on Tuesday, asking that the hospital stop further medical procedures and remove his wife from respirators, ventilators or other “life support” and release her body.

JPS officials have refused, citing an Texas law that requires pregnant women to be kept on life support until the fetus is viable, usually at 24 to 26 weeks.

In a letter to Jeff Walker, administrative judge for this region, Wilkinson noted: “The Munoz case has time sensitive issues which require immediate attention. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.”

Walker said he will be out of town until Monday and state District Judge R.H. Wallace is serving as presiding judge. When Wallace’s office receives Wilkinson’s notice, the case will be reassigned, Walker said.

That Texas law states: “Sec. 166.049. PREGNANT PATIENTS. �A person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant patient.”

Tuesday morning, Erick Munoz filed suit in Tarrant County District Court. In the suit, he says the hospital has diagnosed her has “brain dead” and that all life-sustaining treatments should be stopped.

Keeping her alive “makes no sense, and amounts to nothing more than the cruel and obscene mutilation of a deceased body against the expressed will of the deceased and her family.”

A copy of the suit is available here

The documents state that, “Although the hospital has not publically released an official diagnosis of Marlise’s condition, Erick has been informed by JPS, and from that information believes, that Marlise is brain dead. At the time of the filing of this document, Erick still awaits the release of Marlise’s medical records, for which the necessary releases have been duly executed and provided..JPS has informed Erick and his family that Marlise Munoz is brain dead, and as such, Erick asserts that she is legally dead under Texas law. Despite the fact that Marlise is dead, JPS refuses to remove Marlise from the “life sustaining” treatment, thus mutilating, disturbing and damaging Marlise’s deceased body, and further refusing to release it to Erick for proper preservation and burial…Erick vehemently opposes any further alleged “life sustaining” measures, surgery or treatment to be performed by JPS on the deceased body of his wife, Marlise. Erick has repeatedly expressed his wishes, and the wishes of Marlise, to JPS, to no avail. Defendants (including JPS) have instead consistently refused Erick’s requests to remove the “life sustaining” treatments from Marlise’s deceased body , and continue to perform medical procedures on Marlise against Erick’s wishes…”

The court papers further state, “Consequently, as Marlise is deceased, she cannot possibly be a “pregnant patient” under Section 166.049 of the TEXAS HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE, nor can Marlise be subject to any “life-sustaining” treatment pursuant to Chapter 166 of the Code…As a result, JPS should be ordered to immediately remove Marlise from these devices… Notwithstanding the fact that Marlise is deceased, even if JPS were to argue that Section 166.049 were to apply to Marlise’s unborn fetus, it is clear by the plain language of Section 166.049 that this Section only applies to a “pregnant patient”, and does not extend the prohibition of withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining support to a fetus…Marlise was competent when she made her medical directives to both her husband, Erick, and her parents. ..To take those rights away from Marlise, and force her to be subject to various medical procedures simply because she is pregnant, is a gross violation of her constitutional rights.”

The hospital referred requests for comment to the Tarrant County district attorney’s office, which said it will defend the medical facility against the lawsuit. It is legal counsel for John Peter Smith Hospital “in a number of civil areas.”

Munoz’s husband says that “Marlise cannot possibly be a pregnant patient — Marlise is dead.” Furthermore, he argued that her wishes — relayed, he said, in conversations but not in writing that she not be on “life-sustaining” measures when she is brain dead — shouldn’t be treated differently than a man or other woman simply because of her pregnancy.

Pro-life leaders are speaking out on this 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,” said Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life in a statement to Fox News.

PRO-LIFERS are begging the family and the courts to uphold the law so the unborn child can survive until viability:

IMG_0658 (Sue Cry and her family gathered to pray for Baby Munoz Photo credit: Carole Novielli)

This past Sunday afternoon (January 12, 2014) a group or pro-life leaders held a prayer vigil outside the Texas hospital where a 33-year-old pregnant woman is being kept on life-support to give her 20-week-old pre-born baby an chance at life.

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As was expected the side of death protested for the removal of life support at the same time.

IMG_0627IMG_0620Marlise MUnoz Oppositiondead_pregnancy_protest_1200x675_114947651813

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“It’s about a life,” Timm Hobbs of Denton told the Ft Worth Telegraph. “We are here to support that baby.”

Hobbs was there with his wife Renee and two young sons.
Timm Hobbs Ft Worth Telegraph1rclQM.St.58(Timm Hobbs with his family photo credit Ft Worth Telegraph)

Pro-lifers were led in the reading of scriptures on life by Sue Cyr. “We know that baby was created for many wonderful things,” Cyr begins, “Revelation 5 You are a Holy Awesome God….Lord, you have told us we are our brother’s keeper and that whatever we do for the least of Thee we do for you,” she continued.

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The atmosphere was prayerful as media made their way to the pro-lifers.

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NARAL Pro-choice America has set up a petition they say is “for the Munoz family.” The family wants the 20 week pregnant mother disconnected from life support which would kill the baby. Pro-lifers oppose this move as it would kill the unborn child.

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Local Pro-lifer Carole Novielli responded, “What I find outrageous is that there is no written directive which spells out Marlise’s wishes. This woman has carried her child for 20 weeks, she obviously wanted this baby. Yet NARAL, who always claims to ‘protect women’ has decided to side with the woman’s husband in this case and to call for life support to be pulled. NARAL always sides with death and in this case it is the death of a woman and her child. When will the media call NARAL out on this hypocrisy? Regardless, Texas law clearly states that a pregnant woman must be kept alive in cases such as these.”

Novielli is interviewed in the news videos from WFAA below:

______________________________________________
IMG_0660( Rev. Stephen Broden Photo credit: Carole Novielli)

Pastor Stephen E. Broden of Fair Park Bible Fellowship and Founder of National Black Pro-Life Coalition led the vigil in support of Marlise and her baby.

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There is a baby, the baby is alive and has a heartbeat and it is growing,” Rev. Broden tells the crowd. “So we want to pray that God will move and soften the hearts of the Munoz family,” he said.
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____________________________________________

Being brain dead is not the affirmative biological definition of death,” Broden exclaims. “It is a created definition. It was created in 1960 by a group of doctors at Harvard,” Broden explains.

IMG_0671

The mother is nurturing that baby now, the baby is growing. Father we ask you that the child’s father would recognize that value and the dignity of that life and he would allow the baby to live. So we are praying now that there would be a softening of his heart and the grandparents that are involved and recognize that this is life. That they Father, would release their demand to have the ventilation removed, to pull the plug. But rather insist that they allow the baby to live.”

___________________________________________________________________

IMG_0634
The designation of “brain death” is a controversial one and presents moral and ethical issues, especially when the life of a baby is involved. There are many cases where babies have survived after the mothers have experienced similar situations to that of Marlise Munoz. There is a very strong possibility that Marlise’s baby could survive, given a little more time.

Here are some examples:

In 1982 a brain dead woman was put on life support for several days until her unborn child could be delivered.

Michele Odette Poole was delivered in 1985 after her mother was declared brain dead. Her father won a legal battle against the woman’s parents who had requested that life support be disconnected

In March of 1986, doctors successfully delivered a baby at the University of California’s Moffitt Hospital, whose mother was declared legally dead in January and was kept on life support to protect the child.

In November of 1991, Tracy Bucher gave birth to a baby boy after she was pronounced as brain dead. She was kept on life support for six weeks while her unborn child developed inside her.

In November of 1997, Lisa Nottingham was four months when she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was declared brain dead in August. She was kept alive by a machine until her baby could safely be delivered the following November.

Susan Anne Catherine Tores was born in September of 2005 after her mother was kept on life support for three months after being pronounced legally dead. Despite heroic efforts the child succumbed to a respiratory illness and died a few days later.

In June of 2006, a brain dead woman kept alive for more than two months gave birth to a baby girl. She was named Christine and her last name was withheld by the media.

IMG_0678

The Munoz family told Fox 4 in Dallas that when Marlise went down it was uncertain how long the baby was without oxygen. Erick Munoz said that is a concern for him.

Fox 4 News of the protests:

Is it possible that the real concern here for Marlise’s husband is the health of his unborn child rather than Marlise’s wishes which were never put in writing?” asked Novielli.

Renee Pic1014404_720833104616335_1418685574_n

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We must save this baby. It is a person, guaranteed protection under the Constitution,” Broden told the Ft Worth Telegraph.

There is an alternative for the family. There are families willing to take the baby and provide a safe place for it to grow in a loving environment. If we err, we should err on the side of life,” he said.

“We feel great compassion for the family of Marlise Munoz and her pre-born baby. No one ever wants to be in their difficult and tragic situation,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue who suggested the vigil to local activists. “Marlise wanted this baby, and as long as there is a chance that he or she can be saved, we support John Peter Smith Hospital in their bid to follow the law and protect this baby’s life.

PHOTO CREDITS HERE

Pro-lifers pray for unborn child whose family wants pregnant mother pulled from life support

Posted in Life Support, NARAL, Pro-Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2014 by saynsumthn

Written by Carole Novielli (photo credits:/all photos unmarked=same)

UPDATED JAN 14, 2014 This morning, Munoz took another step toward fulfilling JPS’ wish for clarity, filing suit in Tarrant County District Court. In the suit, he says the hospital has diagnosed her has “brain dead” and that all life-sustaining treatments should be stopped.

Keeping her alive “makes no sense, and amounts to nothing more than the cruel and obscene mutilation of a deceased body against the expressed will of the deceased and her family.”

A copy of the suit is available here

IMG_0658 (Sue Cry and her family gathered to pray for Baby Munoz Photo credit: Carole Novielli)

Sunday afternoon (January 12, 2014) a group or pro-life leaders held a prayer vigil outside the Texas hospital where a 33-year-old pregnant woman is being kept on life-support to give her 20-week-old pre-born baby an chance at life.

IMG_0670

__________________________________________________

Marlise Munoz collapsed in her home last November from an apparent blood clot in her lungs when she was 14 weeks pregnant with her second child. Her husband and other family members have asked the John Peter Smith Hospital in Ft. Worth to remove Marlise from life support after they were told she was “brain dead.” Ending life support would also end her pre-born baby’s life.

munoz family

So far John Peter Smith Hospital officials have refused to follow the family’s request, citing a Texas law that prohibits hospitals from removing life support from pregnant women.

That Texas statute states: “Sec. 166.049. PREGNANT PATIENTS. �A person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant patient.”
___________________________________________________________

As was expected the side of death protested for the removal of life support at the same time.

IMG_0627IMG_0620Marlise MUnoz Oppositiondead_pregnancy_protest_1200x675_114947651813

_______________________________________________________________________________

“It’s about a life,” Timm Hobbs of Denton told the Ft Worth Telegraph. “We are here to support that baby.”

Hobbs was there with his wife Renee and two young sons.
Timm Hobbs Ft Worth Telegraph1rclQM.St.58(Timm Hobbs with his family photo credit Ft Worth Telegraph)

Pro-lifers were led in the reading of scriptures on life by Sue Cyr. “We know that baby was created for many wonderful things,” Cyr begins, “Revelation 5 You are a Holy Awesome God….Lord, you have told us we are our brother’s keeper and that whatever we do for the least of Thee we do for you,” she continued.

IMG_0633

The atmosphere was prayerful as media made their way to the pro-lifers.

IMG_0643IMG_0646IMG_0644
_____________________________________________________

NARAL Pro-choice America has set up a petition they say is “for the Munoz family.” The family wants the 20 week pregnant mother disconnected from life support which would kill the baby. Pro-lifers oppose this move as it would kill the unborn child.

IMG_0683

Local Pro-lifer Carole Novielli responded, “What I find outrageous is that there is no written directive which spells out Marlise’s wishes. This woman has carried her child for 20 weeks, she obviously wanted this baby. Yet NARAL, who always claims to ‘protect women’ has decided to side with the woman’s husband in this case and to call for life support to be pulled. NARAL always sides with death and in this case it is the death of a woman and her child. When will the media call NARAL out on this hypocrisy? Regardless, Texas law clearly states that a pregnant woman must be kept alive in cases such as these.”

Novielli is interviewed in the news videos from WFAA below:

______________________________________________
IMG_0660( Rev. Stephen Broden Photo credit: Carole Novielli)

Pastor Stephen E. Broden of Fair Park Bible Fellowship and Founder of National Black Pro-Life Coalition led the vigil in support of Marlise and her baby.

IMG_0673

There is a baby, the baby is alive and has a heartbeat and it is growing,” Rev. Broden tells the crowd. “So we want to pray that God will move and soften the hearts of the Munoz family,” he said.
IMG_0676

____________________________________________

Being brain dead is not the affirmative biological definition of death,” Broden exclaims. “It is a created definition. It was created in 1960 by a group of doctors at Harvard,” Broden explains.

IMG_0671

The mother is nurturing that baby now, the baby is growing. Father we ask you that the child’s father would recognize that value and the dignity of that life and he would allow the baby to live. So we are praying now that there would be a softening of his heart and the grandparents that are involved and recognize that this is life. That they Father, would release their demand to have the ventilation removed, to pull the plug. But rather insist that they allow the baby to live.”

___________________________________________________________________

IMG_0634
The designation of “brain death” is a controversial one and presents moral and ethical issues, especially when the life of a baby is involved. There are many cases where babies have survived after the mothers have experienced similar situations to that of Marlise Munoz. There is a very strong possibility that Marlise’s baby could survive, given a little more time.

Here are some examples:

In 1982 a brain dead woman was put on life support for several days until her unborn child could be delivered.

Michele Odette Poole was delivered in 1985 after her mother was declared brain dead. Her father won a legal battle against the woman’s parents who had requested that life support be disconnected

In March of 1986, doctors successfully delivered a baby at the University of California’s Moffitt Hospital, whose mother was declared legally dead in January and was kept on life support to protect the child.

In November of 1991, Tracy Bucher gave birth to a baby boy after she was pronounced as brain dead. She was kept on life support for six weeks while her unborn child developed inside her.

In November of 1997, Lisa Nottingham was four months when she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was declared brain dead in August. She was kept alive by a machine until her baby could safely be delivered the following November.

Susan Anne Catherine Tores was born in September of 2005 after her mother was kept on life support for three months after being pronounced legally dead. Despite heroic efforts the child succumbed to a respiratory illness and died a few days later.

In June of 2006, a brain dead woman kept alive for more than two months gave birth to a baby girl. She was named Christine and her last name was withheld by the media.

IMG_0678

The Munoz family told Fox 4 in Dallas that when Marlise went down it was uncertain how long the baby was without oxygen. Erick Munoz said that is a concern for him.

Fox 4 News of the protests:

Is it possible that the real concern here for Marlise’s husband is the health of his unborn child rather than Marlise’s wishes which were never put in writing?” asked Novielli.

Renee Pic1014404_720833104616335_1418685574_n

IMG_0675

We must save this baby. It is a person, guaranteed protection under the Constitution,” Broden told the Ft Worth Telegraph.

There is an alternative for the family. There are families willing to take the baby and provide a safe place for it to grow in a loving environment. If we err, we should err on the side of life,” he said.

“We feel great compassion for the family of Marlise Munoz and her pre-born baby. No one ever wants to be in their difficult and tragic situation,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue who suggested the vigil to local activists. “Marlise wanted this baby, and as long as there is a chance that he or she can be saved, we support John Peter Smith Hospital in their bid to follow the law and protect this baby’s life.