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Attorneys Say Brain-Dead Pregnant Woman's Fetus 'Distinctly Abnormal'

When Marlise Muñoz collapsed at her home in Haltom City, Texas, on November 26, she was 14 weeks pregnant.

Her husband, Erick, found her and had her taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, where doctors told him that his wife was brain dead, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Erick asked that Marlise be taken off life support, which she had reportedly discussed with her family before her collapse.

Now, eight weeks later, Marlise is still on life support, and her family's attorneys have said that her fetus is "distinctly abnormal."

Not only are the fetus's lower extremities deformed to the point of being unable to determine gender, according to the Star-Telegram, "The fetus suffers from hydrocephalus [water on the brain]. It also appears that there are further abnormalities, including a possible heart problem," the paper reports.

However, citing a state law, officials from the hospital are refusing to take Marlise off life support until the fetus is viable, which, according to the paper, is about 24 to 26 weeks.

A hearing presided by state District Judge R.H. Wallace is scheduled for Friday, when Wallace will hear arguments from the family and determine if Marlise should remain on life support.

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