Louisiana Committee Passes Bill That Would Keep Pregnant Women on Mechanical Support Against Their Wishes

After emotional testimony given by opponents of a bill that would allow the state of Louisiana to invalidate any advance directives when a patient is pregnant, regardless of the viability of the fetus, a committee voted to pass the bill and send it to the full senate. If passed by the senate and signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal, the bill would make it legal for the state to prohibit a family from directing physicians to remove mechanical support from a brain-dead pregnant woman.

The sponsor of the proposed law, Rep. Austin Badon (D-New Orleans), told the Senate Health and Welfare Committee that the legislation would not take away anyone’s rights. “It just gives a voice to the unborn child,” said Badon. “You can still die a natural death.”

HB 1274 would prohibit the “withholding or withdrawing of life-sustaining procedures from a pregnant woman.” The bill does make exceptions for when maintaining mechanical support would not “permit the continuing development and live birth of the unborn child,” or would be “physically harmful to the pregnant woman,” or “[c]ause pain to the pregnant woman that cannot be alleviated by medication.”

The bill is similar to a Texas law, which led to a lawsuit filed by Erick Munoz against a hospital that said it had no choice but to keep his wife, Marlise, who had been declared brain-dead, on mechanical support to continue her pregnancy, despite her end-of-life directives and family’s wishes. The case drew national attention and debate over the role state government should play in becoming involved in the end-of-life decisions of pregnant women.

“No matter how noble the intentions of this bill, it is wrong-headed and a problem,” said Julie Schwam Harris, a state resident who opposes the bill, in her testimony. “It relegates a pregnant woman to an inferior status, different from men and different from non-pregnant women.”

Melissa Flournoy, a reproductive rights advocate, also testified at the hearing, saying that families should have the right to make end-of-life decisions and that the bill represents a “tremendous” state overreach. “If a family wants to keep a love one alive to incumbent a fetus, there is no state law that will prevent them from doing that,” said Flournoy. “We need to trust our families and our physicians to make end-of-life decisions.”

Both women shared personal stories of end-of-life decisions they experienced with relatives, and each showed emotion and held back tears during their testimony.

Badon responded to the testimonies by saying that even if someone has a will circumstances can change. “Do you really want a great uncle that someone has not seen in 25 years making a decision like this?” asked Badon. “The legislation ensures that if their is any ambiguity that the decision is based purely on the trust of the OB-GYN.”

The bill, which passed the house by a vote of 95 to 0, will now move to the full senate. If passed by the senate unamended it will be sent to Gov. Bobby Jindal for signature or veto.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact press@rhrealitycheck.org.

Follow Teddy Wilson on twitter: @txindyjourno

  • purrtriarchy

    Just another example of where fetuses are viewed as separate from the pregnant person.

    • Renee Goodwin

      And the teawingers are too stupid to realize that a fetus is not separate, without a living woman, a fetus has next to no chance of being born alive and/or healthy

      • Arekushieru

        Yup. Even if the woman dies soon after giving birth, an infant’s chances of survival are lower, I believe.

        Anyways, it’s like they believe woman can just somehow disconnect a fetus from their body and leave it alive. If only these women didn’t want to MURRRDDERRR THEIR BAAYYYBBEEEZZZ!

        • Dana

          Not to mention the trauma inherent in losing the mother. Everybody likes to pretend newborns don’t notice. Believe me, they do. My daughter sure knew when I wasn’t in the room, and she made it very clear she was not happy. Only my voice quieted her.

          • Alex Hunter

            Pro-Lifers certainly don’t care about the father’s rights then. Imagine having lost the love of your life because society demands that they die doing their duty.

          • Arekushieru

            Yup. and the fetus is a complete stranger to him, while the love of their life is not. These people are so sick.

          • Arekushieru

            Yup, because they imprint, not only on the face but the voice.

  • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling


  • fiona64

    These people are *sick.*

    • http://batman-news.com Mummel18000

      You must have misprinted. These “people” suck is what I guess you intended to print?

      • fiona64

        No, I do assume that they’re people. However, I am 100 percent positive that the only way that people can think that this ghoulish action is reasonable is if they are sick.

  • fiona64

    Cue the LieActionNews idiots crowing about what a victory this for teh baybeez in 3 … 2 … 1 …

    • http://batman-news.com Mummel18000

      Once again – please post there instead of here! I have been shouting alone at them for some days. They need to be corrected. Currently on this thread http://liveactionnews.org/pro-life-teen-receives-broken-nose/

      • fiona64

        I would love to, but i was banned (within mere hours of my arrival) for daring to show up with facts, figures and references that rebutted Calvin Freakburger’s bullshit.

        • http://batman-news.com Mummel18000

          Within hours! That is impressive. I have been there a week and I am still not banned. Wonder what I do wrong?

        • LisaC

          Gauleiter Calvin is not psychologically equipped to deal with being contradicted. I got banned for pointing that out. It was pretty funny–he was clearly thisclose to having an aneurysm before he blacklisted me. He’s probably banning people more quickly now out of sheer self-preservation.

          • lady_black

            He’s SUCH a child. He argues by misquotation and keeps insisting he’s right and everyone else is wrong.

  • tigalily

    wow…we now know who has the same rights to their body as a pregnant woman…a pregnant woman who is dead/requires life support. wow.

    • lady_black

      I’m pretty sure courts will be overturning these laws. Common sense tells you that a dead body shouldn’t apply to “life-extending” measures because there is no life to extend.

  • cjvg

    If my body and the right to its use is no owned by the state, I at least demand payment for being conscripted.

    Soldiers get paid and they enlist voluntarily, I demand the same pay for the length of my reproductive years if I’m forced by law to give up my rights to my body

    • okieggma

      Good idea cjvg, you know women sure need to stand up and be counted on these laws made by men that ONLY affect women.

  • Alex Hunter

    Does this bill take into account whether or not the woman in question is a registered organ donor?
    It reminds me of the people who refuse to be listed a ODs out of some paranoia that doctors will let them die so that their body parts can be harvested and sold to Mr Burns-type figures.

  • okieggma

    Even if you have a will the state can overide it.? Where is a law like this for men.? Oh that’s right, this is JUST about women and controlling us.

    • Pinkladyapple

      We’re fetal containers not people silly..

    • fiona64

      EasyBake Ovens have no rights, and these idiots see women as just that. As the oven’s job is to bake little cakes, a woman’s job is to make babies.

  • JamieHaman

    Here’s hoping Louisiana’s Senate has the good sense to turn this bill down. Lord knows that idiot Bobby Jindal will sign it, to show “pro-life: he is….

    No family should ever have to go through what Munoz family went through.

  • Renee Goodwin

    Actually, I did not miss the fact the she is a Democrat, and I think she should be ashamed of herself, both as a woman and as an alleged “Democrat”

    • goatini

      See my post above. This is a GOTP tactic in Louisiana – installing DINOs.

  • goatini

    I’ll bet you missed the fact that since Katrina decimated the population of South Louisiana, effectively decimating the former Democratic voting majority, the GOTP is putting up DINOs in Louisiana that are nothing more than stealth GOTPers. DINO Badon, and DINO Katrina Jackson (so ironically named) are two examples of this GOTP tactic.

  • Arekushieru

    Nice. Intelligence-shaming only exposes what bigots and hypocrites you are.

    • Arekushieru

      To Carl F Bruschnig’s comment in moderation. Thank you for proving my point, because, yes, that’s EXACTLY what you did. NOT what you INTENDED to do. Intelligence-shaming doesn’t just hurt the ones that are the direct target of your vitriol. That’s why it’s called intelligence-SHAMING.

      What, you read Renee and Goatini’s comments, then promptly forgot them? The former said that she did not miss the fact that this was sponsored by a democrat. The latter pointed out how this was a tactic of the GOTP. The Democrat who proposed this was MALE, did you read and forget THAT, as well? It has just as much importance as whether or not it was a democrat or republican that sponsored it, after all. Neither of which are not NEARLY as important as the FACT that it is not DEMOCRATS who routinely oppose a woman’s right to choose (which INCLUDES directives such as the one in the OP), which is ALL Ms. Goodwin was trying to point out. Oops.

      That you continue to claim that others are responsible for the actions of the political elite, not only exposes you for the intelligence-shamer that you are, but also the VICTIM-blamer that you are. Besides, why do you automatically ASSume that it was Democratic voters that voted in these people? Not helping YOUR cause, is more like it. But, I hear, ignorance is BLISS.

      Finally, with the comments YOU make it is more likely that you are the one to show bigotry towards someone who is ‘different’. Highlighting the differences between your grandsons exposes the true purpose behind the photo, to hold up your grandson with darker skin as some kind of trophy, and therefore validates my previous claim. Oops.

  • Jennifer Jonsson

    The law is unconstitutional on its face. Also, I note that it refers only to “pregnant women”. Marlise Munoz was dead, so the judge in Texas ruled that she was not a pregnant woman and the law therefore did not apply. Between the two, it’s unlikely to ever be enforced. Still, what a waste of resources and time when most women would probably choose to stay on life support anyway, if they could. (I wouldn’t, but that’s just me.)

  • fiona64

    You know, it is so easy to be an anti-choice male, isn’t it? After all, you just wave your big dumb paw and demand that some woman you’ve never even met should be forced to risk life and health to gestate a pregnancy, wanted or unwanted. And now you double down in supporting this bill, which makes a dead woman into a forced organ donor.

    Way to go, Sparky.

  • fiona64

    I generally only shame those who make stupid blanket statements.

    Then I suggest you start with the man in the mirror.