Texas Lt. Governor Candidates Agree: Brain-Dead Pregnant Woman Should Still Be On Life Support

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KERA's hour-long debate between the four Republican lieutenant-governor hopefuls was, as expected, a desperate scramble to the right. On issue after issue -- evolution, abortion, immigration -- the candidates studiously avoided any hint of moderation.

Nowhere was that clearer than in their answers to the first question of the day: Should John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth have removed pregnant, brain-dead Marlise Munoz from life support?

Suffice to say the word "erred" came up a lot in reference to Judge R.H. Wallace's order, as did the exhortation to "protect life." All agreed with the basic principle that, so long as her fetus had a heartbeat, Munoz should have been kept alive.

See also: Fort Worth Hospital Complies With Judge's Order, Removes Marlise Munoz From Life Support

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who kicked things off, was the only one to express some equivocation.

"In my view, we should always err on the side of life, and in this case there was an unborn child which was past the 20 week state limit on abortions, so I'm not sure what is the right case here," he said. "But I would always err on the side of life, and I'm not sure that's what happened here with the judge's ruling."

In his answer to the followup question, of whether the legislature needs to change the law when it convenes in 2015, Patterson said yes, but his reasoning was pragmatic. "We have the 20-week provision [after which abortions are banned in Texas] and then we have the legal definition of what's alive and what is not. If you're brain-dead you're dead. So they conflict."

See also: Texas Republicans in Lt. Governor Race United in Push for Creationism in Public Schools

The rest of the candidates were much more sure of themselves and much more eager to cite past pro-life measures they were involved in to trumpet themselves as defenders of the unborn.

Here's State Senator Dan Patrick:

"Life is precious, and there's nothing more precious than the life of a baby in the womb. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding that life, we should always do everything to protect that life.

"I appreciate the hospital fighting to preserve that life and save that life and I think the courts erred. ... We are born in the image of God, and whenever we have the opportunity to preserve life, we should do that. That's our duty, as Christians. That's our duty, I believe, as legislators."

His response to the followup: "We need to be very thoughtful, we need to lead, and we need again to go back to a very basic principle: that we need to protect life at all ages and all costs at all times. This has been a battle in the Legislature, and as lieutenant governor, I will lead to the successful conclusion of passing legislation that will do just that: protect life at all times."

Here's Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples:

"What we have here is a situation where there was life, and I think it's our responsibility as a society to have laws and regulations that encourages life and protects life and tries to find a viable way to continue to promote that life.

"Unfortunately I do believe that the court erred in this situation. I think the next legislative session, we're gonna to have to go in and clarify what the meaning of the statute is in order to remove the ambiguity. It's an extremely difficult set of circumstances, but we need to make certain that as a society we are protecting life and that we are giving unborn children the opportunity and the ability to grow and mature, and live the American dream right here in the Lone Star State."

The final candidate to chime in was incumbent David Dewhurst:

"I'm a strong believer in the sanctity of life. This baby had passed 20 weeks, this baby could have been born, and so I think it was decided wrong. ... If I'd been in that judge's shoes, I would have ruled differently."

To the followup question: "I come back to the same point I made earlier. If you have a viable baby and it can be born, that's a life. So I think it was a mistake so I think we need to clarify the law on this and permit this baby to be born."

See also: Texas' Next Lieutenant Governor Thinks You Shouldn't Be Trusted to Elect Senators

None of the candidates seemed inclined to give any deference to the wishes of Munoz, who had made clear that she did not want to be kept alive by machines. Nor did any of them bring up the condition of the fetus, which was "distinctly abnormal" and, quite possibly, unable to survive outside the womb.

Such details are, it seems, irrelevant to the discussion of "life."

Here's the full video of the debate:

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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109 comments
DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

     Brain Dead Texas Politicians should be euthanized



iblobar
iblobar

All these 'holier than thou' asses,,,how many of u r willing to throw in some financial support for this family,,,,,emotional support,,how BIG all of u r,,,when was the last time u supported an orphan,,feed, clothed, even threw some kind words to a child?? yet there u r,,,acting like the man upstairs passed u the torch,,,enough talking out of ur arses!!!

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

Guvment just stay the hell out of the CEO office and keep your meaty paws in the Dr. Office #hatingbiggovernmentagainstbigbusinesslovingitcontrollingeveryaspectofyourlife

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

We've been reduced to choosing between who can be the biggest muppet of Christian conservative values.

Liberty
Liberty

Every single one of those barbarian pieces of maggot trash deserve to be brain-dead.

markmelton
markmelton

Will real people that have actual thoughts ever be able to hold public office in this state? I hope so.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

I just have another reason to not vote for any of these monkeys.

mylesl
mylesl

When one of them comes up with a way for the father of that fetus, which by the way the hospital admitted was not viable and had stopped developing, to care for the child without being crushed with debt that would end most his and his family's prospects in the future, then they can talk all they want about right to life.  Until that time, they need to keep their mouths shut, especially as it relates to this case.  Pro tip: refusing federal aid your citizens already pay for to expand Medicaid so that your party could stick it to the big bad liberal President, isn't a good start.

rusknative
rusknative

but what did the unborn child still in the womb WANT??

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

They want to protect life, but how bout a statewide fire code, environme tal inspections with teeth. Craven demagogues. Scum.

Just ask the residents of West.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

Any true, constitutionally grounded, conservative libertarian should run like hell away from all three of these candidates.  They disregard the First Amendment separation of church and state in their statements and they disregard the Ninth Amendment and subsequent case law regarding privacy with their views.  The State does not have sovereignty over the People, it is the other way around.  The family, in accordance with the woman's wishes, held sole authority in this decision.

Take all that away and you're still left with the spectre that these men wanted the State to keep a dead person viable only to incubate a fetus.  That is a seriously 'next level' sickness of the head.  I have no doubt that, had the baby been born and had serious mental or physical deficiencies, the doctors, the hospital mgt, and these four men would have had nothing to do with it.  THEN, it would be the family's responsibility.

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

"We are born in the image of God"

Yes and at every oppourtunity we love to play "God" whenever we can.  God's will was for this woman to come home along with with her fetus.  Man's will was to attempt to thwart God's will.

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

"We are born in the image of God, and whenever we have the opportunity to preserve life, we should do that. That's our duty, as Christians. That's our duty, I believe, as legislators."

So much for separation of church and state.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Well of course.

You've got 4 brain dead LG candidates that don't want anybody to pull the plug on them.

cheshirefrostwych
cheshirefrostwych

What about seperation of church and state? What of this forgotten concept? What of freedom of religion? Freedom of Speech is one thing but to write legislation on what is morally right based only on a Christian viewpoint is both in violation of the constitution and has been done before in history. They called this time The Crusades, and many a life was forfeit and possible cultures and families were destroyed. There should be no religious viewpoints in congress or in the government. Religion of any kind has no place there, unless *all* religions are considered.

John1073
John1073

Where in the Bible does it state "Thou shall keepest her on life support"? And if ones duty as a Christian is to keep people alive, shouldn't health care be free and the for profit system we have is an afront to God? I'd love to see them back track on that.

tommie_polkow
tommie_polkow

Amazing they think that a brain dead woman should still be on life support (at the expense of taxpayers?), yet they want to cut aid for born children.  Screw them.

John1073
John1073

Children are not unborn. Newspeak should not apply in our society.

ruddski
ruddski

Politicians will say anything nutty if they think the base will buy it, they'll even lie repeatedly.

We love them anyway, don't we?

leftocenter
leftocenter

Obviously, when God created artificial life support, He intended it to be used to bring into being babies with severe disabilities who otherwise would have died naturally with their blessed mothers.

Shame you folks don't get that.

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

@mylesl all that medicine & surgery & home health nurse care & specially made helmets and braces and beds and take home monitoring equipment that the kid would have needed amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars if not a million dollars over that kid's lifetime.....These people are all about the Money that feeds their corporate masters.....Abortion is bad for business

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@rusknative Apparently, it was wanting in the healthy fetal development department, i.e. was not viable, according to doctors. But, hey, what do they know?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@rusknative

what credible proof do you have "the unborn child in the womb" has the capability to "want" anything? "want" is a cognitive, emotional response.

AdamsonScott
AdamsonScott

@RTGolden1 The Libertarian Party will be running its own candidate in the race, so there's no reason for libertarians (conservative or otherwise) to vote for anyone from the Republicrat monopoly.

rusknative
rusknative

@RTGolden1"only to incubate a fetus".....like that is some kind of horrible cesspool of humanity decision???  What if YOUR children were born with serious mental or physical deficiencies...which is ALWAYS possible in childbirth situations....would you just kill the child because it was a bother, expensive, sad, hard work, etc....WHY did these parents get her pregnant in the first place?  Was it NOT to bring a child into the world...are do you just think they were spork fking and it just HAPPENED....misfortunately.

ruddski
ruddski

Can you tell us how they are violating the Establishment Clause?

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

@cheshirefrostwych  

Not here in Zealot land.  The state republican party keeps the locals all frothing at their mouths with righteousness down here.

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

@John1073 I think its somewhere in Judges "Thou shalt keep every fetus viable, so that it may grow into a consumer of your companies wares and services one day"

fredgarvinmp713
fredgarvinmp713

Many DMNews commenters suggested we should let "nature take its course" and allow the pregnancy to proceed. Right, 'Nature,' as it were.

ruddski
ruddski

@rusknative

"what credible proof do you have "the unborn child in the womlb" has the capability to "want" anything? "want" is a cognitive, emotional response."

Fetuses react to stimulus from outside, in diet, position, stuff. They express a preference the only way they can. The learning process begins.

It boils to "do they know what us happening to them" the evidence points to yes, so you really shouldn't go there.

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

@rusknative @RTGolden1 just because you dig kids being horribly deformed and suffering every day of their lives...doesnt mean everyone does....I was taught in Baptist school that every dead baby gets to escape the pain of this earth and go live with Jesus in Heaven......hypocritical much?

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@rusknative@RTGolden1Yes it is a cesspool of humanity decision.  It goes against the natural order these types of pols profess to uphold as well.  Just because you CAN keep a dead body functioning enough to carry a pregnancy to term doesn't automatically mean you SHOULD do it.  If my children had been born, from their healthy, viable mother, with mental or physical deficiencies, of course I would have kept them, loved them and raised them to the best of my abilities.  That is not the case here.  These people were looking at incubating the fetus for more than half of the pregnancy.  It was a science experiment, nothing more, nothing less.  Even better because science wasn't footing the bill.  The family was footing the bill.  What if YOU were brain dead, and medical expenses were dragging your family into bankruptcy, your children and wife were going to end up homeless?  Would you want the hospital, or some politician, to make the decision to keep you on life support, or would you want your family to make that decision.

I don't know the circumstances surrounding the conception of this child.  It has been reported that the mother DID NOT WANT to be kept on life support.  What gives you, me, or anyone the right to make that choice for her?  Step down off of your pedestal rusk.  Take the situation as it is.  If fate, life or nature was allowed to follow the natural course without human medical intervention, both mother and child would have perished.  A tragedy to be sure, but is deciding not to thwart the natural course of things immoral?  I think not.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ruddski

they are walking a very fine line with these comments.

yes, they can tell the voters their decisions will be based on their faith, that does not violate the establishment clause.

when they say their legislation is based on their faith and their "duty as Christians", they have crossed the line and violated the establishment clause.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@ruddskiIt's simple rudds, and I'm at least as conservative as you are, if not more so.  They are linking their duty as Christians to their duty as legislators.  The intent of the Establishment clause was to disintegrate this link to the fullest extent possible.  These men can have their Christian duty, and they can have their elected duty as legislators; these two duties cannot coincide.

If they seriously want to preserve life, they could start, as the liberals are quick to point out (and they're right, by the way), with doing away with the death penalty.  Now, I'd not like to see the death penalty relegated to history, I think it serves a valuable social function.  I oppose abortion on personal religious grounds, I in no way think others have to share, or should be forced to share, my religious convictions, therefore I support the right to choose.  These men would use legislation to force their religious convictions on the population as a whole, in effect, establishing their religious view as law.

Dub919
Dub919

@ruddski Legislating as Christians instead of as Texans?

ruddski
ruddski

There is no violation of any Constitutional principal by these people, not even close.

Legislators can legally vote their conscience, whether their beliefs are grounded in the Bible, Karl Marx, or Hollywood. They can even talk publicly about how their choices are guided, or make proclamations about religions they follow or respect.

"The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam”

And don't forget the other statement made by the 2nd most powerful man in the world, in defining sin as... "Being out of alignment with my values.”

I'm a real big sinner, I guess, and now so is the majority of the country, if you believe the polls.

John1073
John1073

I'm pretty sure nature would have killed the young lady in question and her fetus right along with her. Unless of course a fetus can be birthed from the deceased. Now that'd be a miracle.

ghkyluhhje
ghkyluhhje

@ruddski Actually, for most of the incubation process, the fetal tissue shows no reaction to any stimuli. This is, of course, because it is just a collection of cells.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ruddski

what? movement inside the womb is a sign of an emotional response from the fetus?

no. not in any fashion. you have a difficult time showing any factual support for your assertion.

yet I'm sure the lack of evidence will stop you from saying it....

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@rusknative

you show a complete lack of knowledge about the establishment clause.

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."

Samuel Clements

rusknative
rusknative

@mavdog@ruddskibull crap....go back to the beginning of legislative sessions opened with prayers....crossing the line reminds me of Obama's famous Red Line at Syria....

Dub919
Dub919

@rusknative Thick as a brick, eh?  I was referring to the following statement: "We are born in the image of God, and whenever we have the opportunity to preserve life, we should do that. That's our duty, as Christians."


I don't want/need my elected officials legislating based upon what their preferred magical sky wizard tells them, whether than be Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Xenu, whatever.  It should have no bearing on the debate, whatsoever.  Legislate within the bounds of reality.


Hugs and kisses, cunt.  (See, I can call names, too!)


rusknative
rusknative

@Dub919@ruddskiyou are thick as a brick.  The statute protecting unborn fetuses was in reaction to a murdered woman that was pregnant...and of course the fetus (child) died too....they determined legally that a fetus is a legal individual no matter what part of guestation stage it was during the entire term, and that killing a pregnant woman constituted killing TWO individuals and not just ONE, so that the death penalty could be invoked....and it went on from there....no RELIGION in this deal you simple minded shallow thinking creep.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@rusknative@John1073Was that just a general "out of my ass observation", or did you have something concrete to share with the rest of us?

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