NPR: 'Macabre,' 'Strange' To Try to Save 'Fetus' in Texas Case; Likens Baby to Organ

Wade Goodwyn, who hyped Wendy Davis's pro-abortion filibuster as a "ray of light" for Texas Democrats, slanted toward the left in a Tuesday item on NPR.org about the controversy surrounding Marlise Munoz and her unborn baby. Goodwyn asserted that the hospital, which sought to keep Munoz on life support until the baby could be born, was in the wrong: "The hospital's defense of its conduct was a tortured interpretation of the Texas Advance Directives Act."

The journalist, who once worked as a left-wing community organizer, also likened the baby, who was injured when Munoz suffered her life-ending malady, to a mere body part:

...Marlise was dead by Thanksgiving. There was no activity at all in her brain or brain stem. It seemed too macabre to be true, like something out of the book Coma, keeping dead bodies "alive" to harvest their organs....

Goodwyn/NPR hinted at their bias in the very title of the article: "The Strange Case Of Marlise Munoz And John Peter Smith Hospital." The writer hinted at his sympathy for Munoz's husband as he outlined the circumstances of the case in the first few paragraphs:

It would have been hard to find a happier man than Erick Munoz on that Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving....So it must have been with a feeling of disbelief and horror that Munoz knelt across the nearly lifeless body of his wife, Marlise, on the kitchen floor at 2 a.m., his fingers linking across her heart, arms pumping away in vain....

What little life she clung to would soon slip away. On Thanksgiving Day, doctors told her husband what he already knew: His 33-year-old wife was gone. A blood clot in her lungs had killed her, perhaps. They weren't completely sure.

Doctors informed Munoz and Marlise's parents...that the hospital wasn't going to disconnect Marlise from the ventilator. Texas law prohibited it because she pregnant....Munoz and his wife's parents told the hospital that Marlise, herself a veteran paramedic, had made it clear to everyone she didn't want to be kept alive by machines under any circumstances. The doctors and the hospital explained it didn't matter what Marlise or her husband or anyone else wanted — their hands were tied. She would stay on the ventilator until her 14-week-old fetus was delivered or died.

Goodwyn then dropped his "macabre" label of the situation and his likening of the baby to an organ. He continued by underlining that "reporters began looking into this Texas Advance Directives Act, and interviewing its authors. And the authors told reporters they never meant for their law to be used to keep a pregnant dead woman 'alive' until the hospital could deliver the baby. They said if that's what John Peter Smith Hospital was doing, the hospital was misreading the law."

Near the end of the article, the NPR journalist made it clear that he was targeting the hospital for daring to let the unborn baby live, even if it was just hours or days:


...When the case got to court last Friday it quickly fell apart for the hospital. Its lawyers conceded in their filing that Munoz had been brain dead since Thanksgiving. The hospital also agreed her fetus wasn't viable, like it's mother it had been deprived of oxygen for at least an hour.

The hospital's defense of its conduct was a tortured interpretation of the Texas Advance Directives Act. "If the legislature intended for life sustaining treatment to be withdrawn, allowing the unborn child to die, it could have expressed this intent by adding a second sentence to section 166.049 to the effect that, upon the mother's death, the healthcare providers must withdraw life sustaining treatment and let the unborn child die," the legal response from the hospital said. "It did not so provide."

And so John Peter Smith Hospital maintained a corpse against the wishes of the family, for the protection of a fetus that couldn't live.

As anti-abortion and pro-Munoz protesters demonstrated outside the courtroom, State District Judge R.H. Wallace's ruling was direct and brief. "Mrs. Munoz is dead," he wrote. "Defendants are ordered to pronounce Mrs. Munoz dead and remove the ventilator and all other 'life-sustaining' treatment from the body."

As Wallace's verdict was read, Erick Munoz wept into his hands as his mother-in-law held him in her arms and cried.

Back in September 2011, Goodwyn aided pro-abortion activists in their campaign at the time against Texas Governor Rick Perry for trimming state funding of "women's health clinics." The reporter didn't give an ideological label for the activists, vaguely labeling them "family planning advocates," and spotlighted their objection that some of the cut funds were now going to crisis pregnancy centers.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center