Success: Comatose Pregnant Woman Taken Off Life Support


Target: Judge H. R. Wallace, Jr.

Goal: Applaud court decision to take comatose pregnant woman off life support in accordance with her and her family’s wishes

A recent ForceChange petition urged Texas Governor Rick Perry to take Marlise Munoz, a brain-dead pregnant woman off of life support so she could die with dignity. John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas has been ordered to remove her from life support in compliance with her and her family’s wishes. She had been officially brain dead since November 2013, but was being kept propped up on life support essentially to serve as a human incubator for her unborn fetus.

For months, hospital officials have been deliberately misusing a portion of the Texas Penal Code that states an unborn child is alive from fertilization until birth, throughout the entire gestation period. Lawyers for the hospital also pointed to a recent Texas law that banned abortions after twenty weeks. However, Marlise Munoz was brain dead only twelve weeks into her pregnancy when her family requested she be taken off of life support, and it was the hospital that set about prolonging the inevitable and complicating the already painful and delicate process. Not only that, but the fetus was determined to be “distinctly abnormal” and was not even viable after it had sustained irreversible damage when Marlise collapsed of a pulmonary embolism in November.

The process of keeping a, for all intents and purposes, dead woman sustained on machines so that her lifeless body could support her abnormal, unviable, and unwanted fetus is incredibly gruesome and macabre. But the hospital was so committed to treating this woman like an object, a literal container for her unborn child, that it deliberately broke code and regulations in order to keep her organs alive, while her family suffered in limbo, unable to properly say good-bye to their daughter, wife, and mother.

The hospital’s actions were unforgivable. Finally, though, Judge H.R. Wallace, Jr. was able to strike down the unconscionable decision, and Marlise Munoz’s family can finally have closure. Please sign this petition to thank Judge H.R. Wallace, Jr. and to support a woman’s right to bodily autonomy, even in death.


Dear Judge H.R. Wallace, Jr.,

Thank you for your fair and honorable decision to order Marlise Munoz taken off of life support. With this decision, you have given Marlise’s family, her husband, and her young son peace of mind and the ability to properly say good-bye to their beloved daughter, wife, and mother.

The hospital’s decision to prop Marlise up on life support to act as an incubator for her fetus was unconscionable and needlessly gruesome. Thank you for taking a stand against this type of heartbreaking objectification, and for supporting a woman’s right to her own bodily autonomy, even in death.

Please continue to rule in favor of women’s rights in future cases. It is so vitally important to have voices to speak out against objectification and misogyny in scenarios like these.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Exey Panteleev via Wikimedia Commons

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One Comment

  1. is she really dead?

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