Saturday, February 19, 2005

Does Pro-Life End at Parasitic Head?

I should be grading papers but I saw this and couldn't help myself.

A baby was born with a second head and doctors decided to remove it. Should we consider the second head as an individual? Is it morally right to lop it off? Unlike a fetus/unborn child/any-other-term-you'd-like-to-use, the head had apparently been gathering information for ten months and lived within an interactive environment.

Former General Surgeon C. Everett Koop, while conservative in most areas, favored separating conjoined twins even if it meant a high chance of killing both of them. As Koop put it "I am willing to take any reasonable risk to separate Siamese twins because of the grotesque future they face."

Classic bio-ethics (of Aristotle and Augustine) believed that conjoined twins with two heads represented two individuals. Stephen J. Gould even wrote an essay about them. I'm not a parasitic head advocate but I would consider it to be a greater ethical dilemma than traditional abortion. It seems if Michael Medved is screaming at Clint Eastwood for making Million Dollar Baby, he'd at least comment on this.

I did find this commentary about conjoined twins and Jewish law that at least dealt with the issue.

And, good lord, look what else came up. I guess I could find two sides to this but I'd better get back to the papers.

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