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Texas pregnant woman: Judge orders brain-dead Marlise Munoz off life support

A Texas pregnant woman, who is brain dead and whose family is against her current life support, will soon be taken off the life support, according to a Jan. 24 Fox News report. Marlise Munoz’ family argued that the John Peter Smith Hospital in Texas should remove her from life support, and a judge has issued a ruling in the matter. Judge R. H. Wallace, Jr. gave the hospital until 5 p.m. CST Monday to remove Munoz from life support.

ABC News reports that the 33-year-old paramedic has been on life support since November from a suspected pulmonary embolism. 14 weeks pregnant when her husband Erick Munoz found her unconscious on Nov. 26, the hospital was bound by state law to keep her alive on life support until she miscarried or the baby was born.

In light of the judge’s ruling, which declared “Mrs. Munoz is dead,” the family is happy that her wish is being upheld. “Marlise Munoz is dead, and she gave clear instructions to her husband and family -- Marlise was not to remain on any type of artificial `life sustaining treatment', ventilators or the like," the family argued in their lawsuit. “There is no reason JPS should be allowed to continue treatment on Marlise Munoz's dead body, and this Court should order JPS to immediately discontinue such.”

Questions abound about whether or not a pregnant woman who is legally or medically dead should be kept on life support to protect the fetus. The hospital for its part, maintained the life support based on a Texas state law stating that “A person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant patient.” Experts, disagree on the hospital’s interpretation of the law, according to the Associated Press. A brain-dead patient is reportedly exempt from this law.