Conjoined twins - to separate or not? - speech
The separation of Mary and Jodie has as many followers as opponents, and all of them have a plenty of tough arguments to back their statements up. Unless the girls are separated, both are expected to die within six months. If they are separated Jodie will stand a chance of surviving and living a normal life. For her sister though, separation means death. Therefore a proper decision must be taken and the fate of the girls must be sealed.
It is not a case in which both children have the chance of living. The first is to ask where the best interests of the children lie. As to Jodie's best interests, the operation would be to her benefit. The experts confirm that Jodie should be able to live a fairly normal or at least a not intolerable life. In my judgment it is overwhelmingly in her interest that she should be given the chance to live a normal life with a normal expectation of life. It is certainly not in her interest to be left to die.
Determining where Mary's welfare lies is more difficult. In fact her state is pitiable and will never improve. Her brain, heart and lungs are for all practical purposes useless. The sad fact is that she lives on borrowed time, all of it borrowed from her sister. She is incapable of independent existence. She is already "designated for death". Continued life, whether long or short, would hold nothing for Mary except possible pain and discomfort, if indeed she can feel anything at all. In this connection the welfare consideration dictates that the operation must be performed.
The problem is that the parents pronounced that if Jodie was left seriously disabled, they would not be able to look after her properly in their country because of their lack of money and the poor standard of health care. In my view the parents take an unduly pessimistic view of the prognosis for her daughter. Their personal hardship in coping with her with such disabilities as she will have to bear command great sympathy but the difficulties for the parents and the difficulties for Jodie cannot outweigh the right to life to which their child is entitled. The parents' wishes do not persuade me that it is right that Jodie should be denied the enjoyment of a life for which she is well equipped.
The last matter is that this decision requires to value one life above another. I am not entitled to value the quality of one human life as worth more than another's and I do not do so. Though Mary has a right to life, she has little right to be alive. She is alive because and only because the blood and oxygen that maintains her life come from Jodie. In the words of one of the doctors, Jodie is her life support machine. Therefore it is Jodie to be entitled to protest that Mary is killing her. Nobody but the doctors can help Jodie. Mary sadly is beyond any help. The best interests of the twins is to give the chance of life to the child whose actual bodily condition is capable of accepting the chance to her advantage even if that has to be at the cost of the sacrifice of a life which is so unnaturally supported. I am therefore left in no doubt at all that the scales come down heavily in Jodie's favour. And I am wholly satisfied that the final choice is to permit separation to take place.
welfare - powodzenie
in this connection - w związku z tym
hardship - nędza
disabilities - niezdolności
entitle - upoważnić
bear - znosić