Hard Cases - Incest / Rape / Congenital Anomalies / Life of Mother

Brain Dead Virginia Woman’s Baby Born, 2005

The baby of brain-dead pregnant woman Susan Torres, 26, who is on life support, was born 3Aug05.

Susan Torres, 26, lost consciousness from a stroke on May 7 after aggressive melanoma spread to her brain. Her husband, Jason Torres, said doctors told him his wife’s brain functions had stopped.

“The situation is pretty stable,” said the brother-in-law, who is serving as the family’s spokesman. “Susan, we have said from the beginning, is the toughest person in that I.C.U. room.”

Cecilia was one possible name the couple had discussed before the stroke.

www.susantorresfund.org has helped raise about $400,000 in donations from around the world to pay the mounting medical bills: Germany, Britain, Ireland, Japan, even a check with no note from a soldier in Iraq.

“She would have wanted us to fight for this baby – there’s no doubt in our minds,” he said. Ms. Torres’s melanoma has spread to lymph nodes and taken over her vital organs, but they continue to function.

Since 1979, there have been at least a dozen (12) similar cases published in English medical literature, said Dr. Winston Campbell

[dir, maternal-fetal medicine, Univ of CT Health Ctr]. [AP, 20July05; http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/21/health/21fetus.html? pagewanted=all 21July, N.Valko RN]

UPDATE

[5 August 2005] Two days after the birth of Susan Anne Catherine Torres and the death of her brain-dead mother, groups now believe this “miracle baby” will help preserve life and convince abortion rights supporters to switch sides.

Amber Dolle [American Life League, Cybercast News Service]: “It has shown the humanity of the child in the womb”.

Abortion rights groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America have remained silent regarding the baby’s birth. The silence “tells me that these groups don’t recognize that in a situation like this, this child … had every right for her life to be protected … as would any other person living outside the womb,” Dolle said.

She suggested that the birth of the Torres child is a problem for abortion rights groups because the baby could have been aborted “by law even if she were perfectly healthy.”

The Supreme Court’s landmark rulings in 1973 – Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton – allowed for abortion to take place at any point during the nine months of a pregnancy.

Dolle: “It’s a human and civil rights issue.”

Supporters who sent donations to the Susan M. Torres Fund, helping the family pay their huge medical bills, recognize the difference, Dolle said, that “this isn’t a blob of tissue, or a part of this woman’s body.”

Susan Anne Catherine Torres’ birth might also affect the public’s position on stem cell research, Dolle said.

Advocates of increased embryonic stem cell research support the destruction of frozen human embryos in order to extract the stem cells.

But “if at 24 weeks, if at 10 weeks, at 14 weeks we believe this is a human person, then why don’t we believe that after 1 or 2 weeks?” Dolle asked.

“If we believe this is a life and believe that this life has humanity and that this life has rights in this country, then we have to make that belief consistent across all lines, and I think this case can certainly help to promote that idea and promote that way of thinking,” she said.

The average American, she said, will see Susan Anne Catherine Torres and recognize that “we have no right to take that child’s life.”

Paul Schenck [exec dir of NPLAC] stated in a press release that the birth “exemplifies the greatest gift we can ever be given” which is “life.”

The Torres baby’s birth “has reaffirmed the incalculable value and sanctity of every human life from conception to natural death”, Schenck added.

[CNSNews.com, 5Aug05]