Kendall Coffey was recently on NewsNation with Tamron Hall, discussing the current legal issues regarding Marlise Munoz, the pregnant woman in Tarrant County who was recently diagnosed as brain-dead. See below for the transcript of Kendall Coffey’s insight into the murky legal matter.
Kendall Coffey: And of course as it was just described, many states have these laws. Some of them probably have some of the same kind of ambiguities that this law has. So, it’s gotta be an agonizing frustration to know there seems to be a conflict between what is an irreversible cessation, which could be death, or what is an irreversible condition, which could mean that the statute applies and the termination of life support is not allowed under Texas law—all of which could lead up to the constitutional question, ‘If a woman were healthy and alive there is no doubt she would have the constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy in these circumstances. Given the fact that she lacks cognitive power but there are individuals, loving individuals, who are apparently unanimous, the husband and the parents, in wishing to speak for her why wouldn’t they have the same constitutional right in expressing her will to say that this pregnancy should be terminated? Very little case law on it, this could be an important court decision if it plays out in the coming weeks.
Tamron Hall: Absolutely important—not just as you have pointed out…for the state of Texas, but in other states where similar laws exist. I’m also intrigued by the fact that the Tarrant County District Attorney, Kendall, is saying that they will file a response in due course here. Listen, every day matters obviously to this family, and legally, obviously they have to file course, but one would think that for this family and the grief that there would be some expedited decision here or movement here.
Kendall Coffey: You’re absolutely right. This should be treated as an extreme emergency in so many respects for so many reasons, so I hope this isn’t in due course. I hope this is as fast as humanly possible in terms of reaching the issues.