Recently, and by an overwhelming majority, the Louisiana Legislature passed one of the most invasive anti-choice bills imaginable, HB 1274. The bill would require physicians and hospitals to keep brain dead, pregnant women on life support in order to keep their unborn fetus alive.
The proposed new law would apply even if remaining on life support is against the stated wishes of the woman or her immediate family. The only time the law would not apply is if the incapacitated woman has a will in which she specifically and explicitly wrote that she does not wish to be resuscitated if incapacitated and pregnant – or – if the fetus is under 20 weeks old.
Ilyse Hogue, President of the NARAL Pro-Choice America, told MSNBC:
“Laws like this show the sinister underlying belief that anti-choice politicians hold – that women’s sole purpose is to have children, and once we are pregnant, our rights to make our own decisions fly right out the window regardless of what we think, our families think, and what medical experts think.”
Another article noted that HB 1274 would “codify the legal nightmare scenario that faced the Texas family of Marlise Munoz earlier this year.” Munoz collapsed after suffering from either a blood clot or pulmonary embolism. She was declared legally dead two days later. However, when her husband and grieving family asked to remove her from life support and allow her to die a natural death, the hospital refused because Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant at the time. Even more shocking, the hospital refused to withdraw life support even after an ultrasound established that the fetus was severely deformed and fluid had built up in its brain.
In the Munoz case, the grieving family was forced to file a lawsuit against the Texas hospital. A judge subsequently ruled that the hospital had to respect the family’s wishes and ordered withdrawal of life support.
Louisiana’s HB 1274 is now in the hands of Governor Bobby Jindal. All signs suggest that he will sign this restrictive bill into law. If he does, this is yet another example of the political right invading women’s privacy protections and the rights of their immediate families. HB 1274 is a CIVIL WRONG.