The moral and legal case of the conjoined twins Mary and Jodie has set the nation off in a frenzy of debating on whether or not the twins should be separated. In doing so, it has been revealed that only Jodie has a chance of surviving the operation, meaning the operation is virtually an act of murder in order to save Jodie’s life. It has also been made known that if both twins are left to let fate take its course, they will be dead within six months. The almost impossible moral decision of whether or not Mary’s life should be sacrificed in order to save Jodie’s lies in the hands of the three Lords Justices of Appeal.
The question remains; should judges be given the permission to ‘act God’ as some people call it, and take away one life in order to save another? Or should the twins be left to die which as some argue, is what fate or indeed God has already decided should happen? To take away one life in order to save another does hypothetically make sense, but in reality can it ever be right for a doctor to intentionally kill someone, even if it is to benefit another? Others would argue that Mary would die anyway, so why not shorten her life by six months if it saves another.
Euthanasia in this country is illegal, so should it be appropriate or (more importantly) legal for judges to practically order the death of an innocent human being, even if keeping the twins alive will result in the certain death of both twins. This case is strikingly similar to one of someone wishing to perform voluntary euthanasia, so why should this operation of practical murder be allowed to take place? The only difference between euthanasia and this case is that if the operation is to go ahead, it is without the consent of the person being killed – Mary.
So shouldn’t this mean that proceeding with the operation is even more ridiculous if it is in fact without the consent of Mary, even though she is a baby of six weeks old? One now assumes that the next people to ask for permission to kill Mary, if not Mary herself, are her parents; the people who gave life to their daughter. It strikes me as blatantly obvious that the parents should be the ones to decide the twins’ fate, not a judge who has no emotional connection with the twins whatsoever.
It is easy enough for a judge to say ‘Go ahead with the operation,’ but it is not that judge that will have to face the consequences of the years to come after the proposed operation; it is the parents. The prospect that the parents face does not paint a pretty picture. There is a high chance that (providing the operation is successful), Jodie will be left seriously disabled, perhaps not even being able to communicate freely like anyone else. If this is the case, as well as the parents being put through an ordeal worse than one can imagine, the child could very well be better off dead as many disabled people would be.
So in addition to the moral dilemma of whether or not it is right to allow the operation, there is also the point that maybe the twins should be just left to die as with Jodie being alive and disabled she could very well be better off dead. If Jody survives the operation, the parents could be put through a far worse ordeal than if both twins should be left to die as ‘God intended’. With Jodie disabled, there is a strong possibility that it would result in the child having to be abandoned in England anyway due to the parents not being able to afford to raise her in their home land of Gozo, a small Maltese island.
The judges final verdict of whether or not to go ahead with the operation I think also depends largely on if they see the operation as an act of murder and cruel sacrifice of life, or an act of life saving. Admittedly both are correct, it is just a matter of opinion on the judges’ part for whether it is right to save a life, but in doing so kill another. Contrary to what people say about it being ‘God’s will’ for the twins to die, I do not think that it is the sensible or realistic way to go about the case.
We live in a modern age of medicine and technology that allows us to save lives and that is what this operation will do – save a life. In my opinion, one life saved is better than two lives lost, even if it does mean ending Mary’s life six moths early. But more important than my view is the parents view, and I find it ridiculous that they are unable to decide what happens to their children, and that these court officials somehow feel like they have the right to determine the fate of someone else’s children.
Well I and many others rightfully disagree. Surely it should be the parents that are responsible for their own children, not irrelevant court judges who don’t have to deal with the consequences of their decision. Even if the parents are apparently ‘too overwhelmed’ to decide what is right for their children it is still their responsibility. What ever decision is made regarding the twins there will inevitably be ongoing arguments against what ever happens, and this is unavoidable as I’m sure the judges very well know.