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Canadian mother declared brain-dead but father chooses life for unborn son

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The contrast is so complete, so startling, it almost takes your breath away. Barely a week ago the family of Marlise Muñoz persuaded Texas Judge R.H. Wallace to order John Peter Smith Hospital to remove all life support from Mrs. Munoz who was pregnant and who’d been declared brain-dead.

In subsequent interviews her husband bitterly denounced the hospital for doing what the hospital said it was compelled to under a state law that reads “A person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant patient.”

Contrast that with the actions of Dylan Benson whose pregnant 32-year-old wife (and childhood sweetheart) Robyn Benson was declared brain-dead in late December but is on life support.

Robyn is 27 weeks pregnant with the son Mr. Benson had named Iver Cohen Benson.

“In line with his wishes, hospital staff are now trying to keep her alive seven more weeks, until the fetus is 34 weeks old and has a better chance of survival outside the womb,” writes CBC News. “I got to feel him kick for the first time the other day,” Dylan Benson said proudly.

To read Mr. Benson’s blog is to get a some sense of his courage, the support of his family and friends, and the community in Victoria, British Columbia as he anxiously await the birth of his son but which will be followed by the passing of his wife. (See www.misterbenson.com.)

Mrs. Benson’s pregnancy was uneventful until December 28. According to his blog, Robyn Benson, just over five months pregnant, complained of vomiting and a severe headache. Dylan went out for Tylenol and when he returned he found his wife on the floor.

“She was non-responsive. I tried to call her name and stuff but nothing would happen,” he told Dirk Meissner of The Canadian Press.

Rushed to hospital, staff “discovered that my wife had a fluke random type of blood leak into the centre of her brain and that there was so much blood and damage that it is not reversible,” he wrote on his blog.

But so far their son is doing fine.

“Pretty much her body is doing everything but her brain isn’t there anymore,” Benson told Meissner. “She’s doing an amazing job.”

Here are two more telling excerpts from his blog, one from right after his wife collapsed and one from today:

Her family and my friends are all very supportive and all think that my wife would want me to try and give our child the best life possible so that’s what I’m going to try and do assuming that all goes well and I actually get to meet him. If the C-section is successful of course my son will then spend the next 15 weeks in the hospital under intensive care until he is ready to be released to me.

“On one hand, I can’t wait to meet my son and try, and give him the best life possible and try my hardest to be a great dad for him. On the other hand, I know that the day or the day after he is born will be the day that I have to say goodbye to Robyn.”

And then today

“We had another ultrasound today and things are still looking good for good for Iver, and Robyn is still holding on strong.

“Thanks again for your continued support. We truly appreciate the help and kind words.”


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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