Our Neverending Abortion War: The Obscene Horror Show Playing Out in Texas:
Before we get to the awful battle Erick Munoz has fought against a hospital in Forth Worth to take his dead wife off the machines that keep her alive as an incubator for a fetus, you have to understand how Texas is crazier than a weasel orgy when it comes to women's health and abortion rights. And we're not even talking about its cruel and sadly not unusual law passed last year that creates ludicrous blockades to women's access to abortion.
Back in 2005, the Texas legislature, in its infinite lack of wisdom, started shifting millions of dollars from legitimate family planning clinics - places that provided free or affordable health care to women, including many women who want to get pregnant. It's the "planning" part that pisses off conservatives. They started giving money to "crisis pregnancy centers." You know, those places where people with absolutely no medical training beyond what they read in a pamphlet convince women that abortion is an abomination up there with murder and gay sex and Obamacare.
Yeah, all that cash flowing in allowed for the creation of the Texas Pregnancy Care Network, which is an umbrella for the primarily Christian-associated or -run facilities. What do these places do? Give pregnant women some stuff. Tell 'em not to abort. Counsel them a little about life choices. And refer them to places that do something real, like medical testing.
For instance, there's the Gabriel Project, run out of various Catholic churches in Texas. Who does the counseling there? Trained therapists? Social workers? Want a third guess? Angels. No, really, it's Angels. As the website says, "Regularly scheduled Angel Trainings are held on a Saturday every other month at a host parish within the diocese. Through the years, more than 500 'angels' have been trained to assist pregnant women." You can also be a "Sidewalk Angel," and that's pretty much exactly what you imagine.
To add a kick in the vagina to all of this, in 2011, the Texas legislature slashed funds to family planning clinics in the mad "defund Planned Parenthood" rush but raised the amount given to the anti-choice centers. You got that? The legislators took money away from science and gave it to hoodoo worshippers.
The damage to women, especially poor, rural women, in the Lone Star state ought to be embarrassing to anyone existing in the 21st century. But, then again, some Texans keep electing Louis Gohmert, a shit-for-brains who couldn't find his ass if someone was pointing at it and saying, "Dude, that's your ass," so shame isn't real high on their list of emotions.
In a really roundabout way, this gets us to the gut-wrenching case of Marlise Munoz, who was brain dead 8 weeks ago and whose entire family, wanted to honor her wishes by taking her off life-support. Except that she's pregnant, and John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, obviously piss-scared of government sanctions and probably of Sidewalk Angels, decided to follow Texas law that says that if a patient is pregnant, she can't be taken off life support.
Erick Munoz and Marlise's parents are suing to allow her to die, with the case hinging on whether the law is intended for women who are brain dead or whether it can be applied to keeping a fetus alive inside a dead woman. This is what you're forced to do because of the fetus worship in Texas and too many other states. This is an argument we're having in 2013.
You want it to get worse? There's no happy ending here. There's no bouncing baby that gets cut out of Marlise Munoz before she is discarded like a fleshy candy wrapper. No, there's a "distinctly abnormal" fetus growing in her. A statement from the family's lawyer described lower extremities so malformed that you can't tell what the sex of the fetus is. "The fetus suffers from hydrocephalus [water on the brain]," it goes on. "It also appears that there are further abnormalities, including a possible heart problem, that cannot be specifically determined due to the immobile nature of Mrs. Muñoz’s deceased body." So if a baby is born, it will live an awful, short, painful life and then die.
This is the monstrous nature of the anti-choice forces in this country. It is better to take money away from doctors to give to churches. It is better to force women to have to endure hardship or give themselves medical procedures than to treat them with compassion. It is better to ensure, as Marlise Munoz's family attorney says, that a fetus "is gestating within a dead and deteriorating body as the horrified family looks on" than to care about the living who really care about the dead.