I strongly disagree with this part. The mother is in no condition to make the decision on whether to terminate the pregnancy or not, I agree. In which case, like other medical decisions when the patient is unable to decide for themselves, the choice falls to their next of kin or whoever has been invested with that power if not a spouse or family member. The husband in this case clearly knows that taking his wife's body off the machines that are keeping the semblance of life still going means that the fetus will also die, and he has made his desires clear even taking that into consideration.
For the state to now step in and say that he cannot follow his wife's stated wishes of not being kept on life-support for the sake of possibly take responsibility for a child he does not want is at best cruel and I would argue immoral and unethical.
But this isn't just some medical condition, he's not having her put on a regimen of medications, or some other form of treatment which might save her life; The husband would be actively deciding that in lieu of his wife's explicit will being known, the fetus she carries should be aborted. I must protest as the whole basis for a woman's right to abortion is her sole and sovereign ability to dispose of her body as she sees fit. It is that sovereignty which is the reason no one can tell a woman she can't have an abortion, and on that same sovereignty no one can tell her that she has to have an abortion. It works both ways. As long as Mrs. Munoz is alive, and her will regarding an abortion cannot be clearly established, no one can prematurely decide terminate her pregnancy on her behalf. If you're denying that, then I must ask by what other right you would establish the right to an abortion which would allow for this specific exception?
Supposing of course that she is not alive, and let us presume once more for the sake of argument that brain death is near enough to dead, the next of kin's only rights to the deceased are property rights. Literally, her body becomes property and is released to the custody of the next of kin following positive identification and medical examination by the state. Generally, this is an expedited process and doesn't require a waiting period except for transport of the body, but the state does have the right to withhold the body under certain conditions, usually related to criminal investigations or matters of health and safety. To my mind, that means if the state decides it's a matter of public concern for that the body should be used for the health and safety of the fetus at the discretion of the hospital, then they have a perfectly good legal basis to do exactly that.
Either way you cut this, Mr. Munoz's rights as next of kin cannot supercede the right's of his wife to sovereignty over her own body, or else the state's discretionary rights to release custody of a corpse to the next of kin.
She has the right to decide what is done with her body in the event of her death. Not the state. Her husband and family have the legal right, in lieu of her being able to, to make all medical decisions concerning her body - up to and including removing life sustaining machines.
Texas overstepped it's bounds with this ridiculous law. The government has no business being involved in end of life decisions. It certainly has no right overruling Marlise 's desire to not be kept on machines.
You can argue that she is still alive if you want but if the doctors told her family her brain stem is dead... guess what. She's dead. Wait for a doctor to say 'time of death' all you want. Fact is she died on Nov 26th 2013 in the middle of the night.
I will reiterate the points I made above to directly address your claims that A) "Her husband and family have the legal right, in lieu of her being able to, to make all medical decisions concerning her body - up to and including removing life sustaining machines." & B) She's dead.
A) If Mrs. Munoz is still technically alive (no declaration of death, no death certificate, no legal ruling, etc.) then no one has the rights to make decisions regarding the termination of her pregnancy. Her body is sovereign, and her husband deciding that she should have an abortion is every much a violation of her rights as would be the state of Texas saying she can't have an abortion if she were still conscious. As her will in regards to an abortion cannot be explicitly established via advanced directives or her express testimony, no one can decide to have the abortion for her.
- I believe you claimed earlier that terminating her life support does not amount to an abortion, but that is fundamentally flawed logic and has no legal grounds to stand on. Killing a pregnant woman in many cases is considered double-homicide, at best manslaughter if you can cast reasonably cast doubt on whether you knew the victim was pregnant. Mr. Munoz knows that terminating life support will terminate the pregnancy, he cannot claim ignorance, and considering that her death would result in the death of an unborn fetus, it is still an abortion.
B) Mr. Munoz's rights as next of kin to the body of his wife are not absolute. In every state in the union, local and state governments have the right to delay release of the body on the basis of health & safety. Now generally this is only applied in cases where there is some sort of criminal investigation or else the body is contaminated, or requires further medical examination, but what else would you call this case than the hospital declaring the "body" requires further medical examination given that there is a fetus still inside of it. Under this interpretation, we need not even invoke the unjust Texas Law which you so vehemently oppose, only say that the health & safety in question is that of the fetus.