Abortion Fetal anomolies and disabilities Philosophy Religious views

Abortion and Conjoined Twins

A young single mom from Wisconsin has become the subject of international commentary due to her decision to continue her pregnancy after being informed that the twin daughters she is carrying are joined at the heart and share other internal organs.

Some readers of this blog may recall the controversy that arose in England a few years back when parents of conjoined twin daughters refused to consent to the separation of the twins since the medical procedure was virtually certain to cause the death of the weaker twin. Healthcare providers petitioned the English courts to override the parents’ judgment and allow the operation, and the High Court of England ultimately agreed. For thoughtful reviews of the case and the literature see A Catholic Moral Perspective on the Separation of Conjoined Twins Jodie and Mary: A Survey and Critique,and UFL member Chris Kaczor’s The Tragic Case of Jodie and Mary: Questions about Separating Conjoined Twins.

I can not help but hope this case, like the recent NY Times discussion of selective reduction abortions, will occasion greater understanding of the difference between humbly accepting a child’s death that can not be saved through moral means and the intentional sacrifice of one innocent life to preserve another.

Teresa Collett

Teresa Stanton Collett is a professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches bioethics, property law, and constitutional law. A nationally prominent speaker and scholar, she is active in attempts to rebuild the Culture of Life and protect the institutions of marriage and family. She often represents groups of state legislators, the Catholic Medical Association, and the Christian Medical and Dental Association in appellate case related to medical-legal matters. She represented the governors of Minnesota and North Dakota before the U.S. Supreme Court as amici curiae regarding the effectiveness of those states’ parental involvement laws. She has served as special attorney general for Oklahoma and Kansas related to legislation designed to protect the well-being of minors and unborn children. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and has testified before committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittees on the Constitution, as well as numerous legislative committees in the states.