Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a bill yesterday which will protect the pre-born children of women who are declared “brain dead” in Louisiana. Earlier this month, Jindal signed a bill into law which requires abortionists in Louisiana to obtain hospital admitting privileges before being allowed to commit abortions. Yesterday’s signing was another victory for pro-life advocates who have worked for more stringent rules regarding abortion.
Earlier this year, the issue of pregnancy and brain death took the national stage when Texas mother Marlene Munoz suffered a tragic pulmonary embolism at 14 weeks pregnant. Munoz was diagnosed “brain dead” (a contentious term that pro-life advocates argue should be treated responsibly) after the incident. Her husband sought to have Munoz removed from life support despite the fact that this action would cause the death of his pre-born daughter.
A court battle ensued, since Texas law prohibits brain-dead pregnant women from being removed from life support until their child has been given a chance at life outside the womb. Ultimately, Marlise’s husband won the court battle and the mother and child passed away as a result of Munoz being removed from life support. This happened just days before her baby would have reached a safe enough stage of development to be delivered and have a chance at life outside the womb.
According to a representative of the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Munoz case triggered this legislation in Louisiana.
The new Louisiana law will require that, in the event of an accident, life-sustaining treatment be given to any pregnant mother who has been pregnant for 20 weeks or more. Notably, this 20 weeks is the “post-fertilization” age, which is a different type of pregnancy dating than “last menstrual period,” or LMP dating. Per post-fertilization dating, a woman who is 20 weeks pregnant would generally be 22 weeks pregnant according to the normal LMP method of dating. The legislation, HB 1274, was sponsored by Democrat State Representative Austin Badon; the law takes effect immediately.