DALLAS (AP) — Before a pregnant, brain-dead Texas woman was taken off life support over the weekend at the end of a long legal battle, her husband said he decided to name what would have been the couple's second child.
Erick Munoz said Monday he gave the 23-week-old fetus the name Nicole, the middle name of his late wife, Marlise Munoz. He would not say why he chose to name the fetus.
Munoz said doctors at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth indicated to him that the fetus would likely have been a girl, though his attorneys previously said the fetus suffered from lower body deformation that made it impossible to determine its sex.
"They think it was a female," Munoz said in a brief telephone interview with The Associated Press.
Munoz told WFAA-TV in an interview aired Monday evening that he has seen many negative comments about his decision, but he feels he made the right choice.
"I'm just glad they are not in my shoes. I hope every day that no one ever has to go through what I went through," he said.
Munoz said his wife will be cremated and there are no plans for memorial or funeral services because the family is concerned that protesters would show up.
"She made me a better man, and I thank her for it. I thank her very much," he said.
Both the hospital and his attorneys agreed the fetus could not have been born alive that early in the pregnancy, and the fetus was not delivered when the hospital complied Sunday with a judge's order to pull any life-sustaining treatment from Marlise Munoz.
Doctors said she was brain-dead in November after Erick Munoz found her unconscious in their Haltom City home, possibly due to a blood clot, but the hospital had kept on machines to keep her organs functioning for the sake of the fetus, which it said was per Texas law.
The case inspired debates about abortion and end-of-life decisions, as well as whether a pregnant woman who is considered legally and medically dead should be kept on life support for the sake of a fetus.