Vigil Memorializes Mom and Baby Removed from Life Support & Warns of Trend to Dehumanize

Ft. Worth, TX – Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman and Cheryl Sullenger joined a group of about 50 pro-life supporters for a memorial vigil for Marlise Munoz and her baby outside John Peter Smith Hospital in Ft. Worth, Texas, on Sunday after news broke that the hospital had withdrawn life support.

Statements released by the hospital and the Munoz and Machado families indicated that Marlise Munoz was removed from life support at 11:29 a.m. and died a short time later. However, there was no mention made of Baby Munoz, who was 23-weeks gestation at the time of Marlise Munoz’ death yesterday morning.

“We needed to give that baby a voice and dignity in death that he or she never had in life,” said Newman. “We wanted the world to understand that this baby’s life – whether there were health issues or not – had value and deserved a chance at life.”

Mrs. Munoz had been on life support at JPS Hospital since November, when she arrived “still alive” according to a hospital statement in November after collapsing at her home. Doctors determined that she was “brain dead” but kept her on life support because she was 14 weeks pregnant in compliance with Texas law that prevents “life sustaining” treatment from being removed from pregnant women. A judge disagreed with the hospital officials’ reading of the law and ordered life support terminated.

Operation Rescue objected to way the term “brain death” was being applied to Mrs. Munoz and with the characterization of her as a “dead corpse.”

“We are not medical professionals, but we do understand that a dead corpse cannot sustain a growing pregnancy for two months, as Mrs. Munoz did,” said Newman. “This dehumanizing terminology was intentionally used for the purpose of making the murder of her and her baby more palatable. The law was clear that life support should have been continued in order to give the child a chance, but the intent of that law was completely ignored.”

Pastor Stephen Broden of Fair Park Bible Fellowship and Founder of National Black Pro-Life Coalition, who addressed the pro-life supporters during Sunday’s vigil, reminded all of the Bible verses that state, “The life is in the blood,” meaning that as long as there is circulation, there is life. That concept was confirmed by the fact that the pre-born baby was nourished and growing.

In addition to dehumanizing the mother, the baby was portrayed by attorneys as little more than a monster, leading one Twitter poster to ask, “The baby was deformed. How is that murder?”

“This baby was a precious gift and his or her life had value even if there were developmental issues. We don’t kill people because they are handicapped,” said Newman. “This was a naked attempt to redefine life and death in subjective terms that would make it acceptable to end the lives of people that have become inconvenient. This is a very dangerous road to travel on and could lead to lost protections for all our lives. We are thankful that we had the opportunity to speak the truth in opposition to this horrific attempt to strip two precious human beings of their humanity and dignity along with their lives.”

Originally, Operation Rescue had planned to engage in peaceful civil disobedience on Sunday to convince hospital officials to appeal the judge’s order and to give the baby more time to mature.

“We hoped to intervene in order to give Baby Munoz more time to grow. We had couples who expressed interest in adopting the baby and offers to pay the medical bills. It’s tragic that the hospital decided to move quickly,” said Newman. “This baby was let down by the very people who should have provided the strongest protections.”

Operation Rescue extends thanks to everyone who worked to alert the public of this tragedy and tried to help save the Munoz baby’s life.

  • Mrs. Carolyn Rife

    I haven’t heard much about the husband and father. Did he actually want his child killed? That was his other child’s brother or sister and part of him. Did he really think that his wife would have wanted him to do that? It’s pretty chilling.

  • David Lee Blair

    This Munoz baby, at 23-weeks gestation, would be covered by a passed Pain Capable act at 20 weeks gestation and should be treated as a premi, at least, without it. Sorry!

  • Brian

    May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ grant this mother and child the chance of
    eternal life they were unjustly denied here in this world.

  • Joseph T. Manzo

    Someday the Nirenberg type trails will begin for all the people who participated in the culture of death that is ruinous to our nation. Hopefully, this judge will be held responsible for the death of this defenseless mother and child.

  • Pat Gabel

    She should have been kept alive; her baby would have been viable outside the womb. The child needed to be given a chance. We cant afford to lose lives even this way.

  • Joel Torczon

    I’d hate to be in the judge’s and father’s shoes on Judgment Day.

  • Marirose

    Risen Savior, in following You we choose to love and not to harden our hearts.You wish us to know Gospel joy. And when the depths of our being are covered by a dark cloud, one way forward remains open: The Way of Serene Trust. Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.

  • Rev Donald

    Why is it the liberal media only quoted those in favor of murdering the woman, with no mention of the child that was murdered as well?

  • Don

    A judge defied the laws of his state-laws he
    has a sworn obligation to uphold.That’s grounds for removal from the bench,isn’t it?

  • Nora Dougherty

    Abortion……No Judge, no jury, no trial, no appeal.
    In this case there was a judge who showed no mercy for the lives of these two people. This little one only wanted to live. No one came to the aid of this mother and child. The legal system could have stopped this execution but those who had the power did nothing.
    Shame on this nation. God is watching and He is not pleased.

  • Nora Dougherty

    Abortion……No judge, no jury, no trial, no appeal and no stay of execution. This mother and child had a judge but he allowed for the murder of two people. She and baby just wanted to live. God is watching our nation and He is not pleased. Those who could save two lives stood by and did nothing. Our nation will pay a terrible price. We will be judged.

  • Beth

    I respectfully disagree with the notion that this mother and baby were “murdered”. I think it is this type of inflammatory language – when applied to cases such as this – that harms the pro-life movement and confuses our cause. The fact is that this woman’s natural (though tragic and untimely) death occurred in late November, when she was 14 weeks pregnant – well before her baby could be safely born. At that time, her family asked that her dead body be removed from mechanical support so that she could be laid to rest. The subsequent death of her baby would have been (and now, has been) an unintended consequence. The issue is not that the child had health problems, and I regret that this information has been brought to the fore in this discussion. This should always have been about medical ethics, not emotion and certainly not about “choice” or “quality of life”. The decision to discontinue artificial means was a moral one, based on the mother’s undisputed medical condition of brain death (i.e., death). The fact that her child was too young to be safely taken from the womb is a sad reality of the timing of the mother’s death – which again, by objective medical fact, occurred many weeks ago. The law requiring continuation of “life support” if a woman is pregnant does not apply to dead women. I fear those of us who defend the notion of life “from conception to natural death” do ourselves and others a disservice by seeming to suggest that no pregnant woman should be “allowed” to die if there is any way possible to use her body as an incubator in order to ultimately allow the birth of her child. Pregnant women die (as this mother did many weeks ago), and when a pregnancy is in its early stages, the baby dies too. This is tragic and heartbreaking, but it is “natural” in the sense of the child’s dependency on the mother, and just because we *might* be able to go to extremes to eventually deliver a child does not mean there is a moral obligation to do so, nor does it mean that it is the wisest course or that those who do not follow such a course are “murderers”. If a mother dies and the baby is far enough along to be delivered and an attempt made to save his/her life, then that should be done. If a mother is in a coma (IOW, still alive) and the baby can be given more time to develop, then do that. But this mother died last November, and it would have been an act of mercy to allow for a proper burial at that time. I am a Catholic who strives to be faithful in defending innocent life from procured abortion and from euthanasia. Perhaps I am wrong, because I am certainly no moral theologian, but I do not feel this case is an example of either (abortion or euthanasia), and therefore I do not support the efforts of some in the pro-life community to label this tragic situation and those involved in it as criminal. Let’s focus on the willful taking of innocent life. This was a tragic death of a pregnant woman and the subsequent death of her dependent unborn child. God has taken them home.

  • Amen Beth, thank you for expressing such clarity in this tragic situation. I had the same thoughts about this case as well.

  • ME

    The question is, was the baby alive?

  • Dan Heiman

    Beth, thank you for sharing your mind. This is a tragedy yes, and to understand the moral obligations more clearly, I see it as the Catholic moral teaching does not require extraordinary means to keep the mother alive, to discontinue life support for the mother is not murder nor mercy killing nor euthanasia. The moral, human, right, just, option would have been to attempt delivery of the child immediately upon doctors declaration of brain dead or within a matter of days in order to prepare for an attempt to deliver and save the life of the child. It would be a complex argument to determine how many days (2-180?) life support should be maintained to support the development of the child, or even at how many weeks of age an attempt at premature birth should even morally be attempted. The life support machines sustaining the child also had the side effect of sustaining the mother’s body and organs. The woman’s death was a tragedy, but even more so that even so many human beings fail to see the child as his/her own person and deserving of love, respect, protection. The moral choice was to attempt to deliver and save the life of the child, just as if the mother had died during child labor. If the child died naturally from the trauma or premature birth, then there is nothing more that could have been done, but the child deserved a chance at life outside the womb.
    (I pray that it would have been a sincere attempt to save the life of the child, and not a scientific/medical excercise in immoral research..) And as for the argument that the child wouldn’t have been viable, wouldn’t have survived anyway, I think that was a ship that sailed a long time ago when the choice was made to sustain life support for the sole reason of the unborn child, as required by state law. And disregarding that, all life is precious, it does not matter what race, sex, religion, mental capacity, disability, gender of the child was, the attempt to deliver the baby and pray for a miracle should have been the choice of a human, compassionate, first world developed country. I’m afraid money, more than morals, is what still drives too many social justice issues.