Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A sad day in Texas

Lifesite News reprinted this tragic story on the Munoz family in Texas. It's a perfect example of the shoddy journalism that makes the pro-life cause look ridiculous and fanatic.

Baby Munoz: first forced abortion documented in Texas BY JENNIFER MASON

 . . . except that allowing natural death when there is no reasonable expectation of viability outside the womb is certainly not a "forced abortion." 

I couldn't resist jumping into the com-box mud fight. My response:

This article and its title are outrageous and misleading; I expected better journalism from LifeSite News. I am 100% pro-life. I am also a seasoned ICU nurse who knows that medical technology is notorious for giving false hope to those that do not understand it. If, for all we know, Mrs. Munoz was truly brain dead (which is a distinctly different situation from being in a permanent vegetative state), the state law regarding the continuation of life-support should not apply. The court order to discontinue mechanical ventilation was appropriate so long as it concurred with the decision of Mr. Munoz.
The Catholic Church's teaching is clear that extenuating, extraordinary treatment IS NOT mandatory when it constitutes a heavy or undue burden on the patient, and this decision must be made by the patient (or patient's representative). As guardian of the unborn Munoz baby, the father was not obliged to pursue such extraordinary means as artificial life support to the baby via a corpse.
Have babies survived outside the womb at 22 weeks? Rarely, and they have done so against all odds. No outcome is guaranteed. Mr. Munoz is not obligated to make a decision which goes against reasonable medical expectations. He did not intentionally end the baby's life; he simply chose to let nature take its course. That's acceptable.
We were not made for this world; death comes for us all. Faith belongs in Christ, not in the limited arts of medicine. Catholics should understand this the best, but apparently many do not.


  1. So, having brain-dead mother on ventilator was effectively the same as having the baby on a ventilator, which, at 22 weeks, is extraordinary means? That's my understanding of your argument, which makes sense to me. . . . Reminds me, tho. Pat and I finally got all responsible and got wills made up and medical directives signed . .. except that we haven't actually filled in the directive yet. Our atty just had us sign them and left us to fill it in privately (he explained why, it made sense). But it's one more thing we haven't gotten around to.

  2. Just commenting that I'm here and I read what you wrote. I just don't know what to say.

  3. I appreciated your comments. The doctrine of double effect is poorly understood, including by zealously pro-life Catholics who falsely claim that their hospitals will perform abortion procedures to save a woman's life.

    FWIW I'm an agnostic pro-choicer.