Magazine article The Christian Century

Debate in Britain over Conjoined Twins

Magazine article The Christian Century

Debate in Britain over Conjoined Twins

Article excerpt

Conjoined one-month-old twins are at the center of an ethical and moral debate in Britain after a judge ordered the twins to be separated so that one might live, even though the parents object to the procedure. A court of appeal on September 22 upheld the ruling, though the case may still be appealed to the House of Lords and even to the European High Court of Human Rights. The two girls, born August 8, are joined at the rump, and doctors say both will die within a year if they are not separated.

Doctors told the parents that if separated, one of the twins, "Mary," will die, but the other, "Jodie," could expect to live a healthy life. The girls' parents, who are Roman Catholic, for religious reasons do not want to separate the twins and said they would prefer to have both girls die rather than sacrifice one for the life of the other.

"We cannot begin to accept or contemplate that one of our children should die to enable the other to survive," the parents wrote in a statement. "We have very strong feelings that neither of our children should receive any medical treatment.... We have faith in God and we are quite happy for God's will to decide what happens to our two daughters. …

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