Cardinal says poverty denied Siamese twins' parents right of appeal
A senior Italian cardinal has regretted that the parents of the British Siamese twin who died after last week's separation surgery did not have the finances to support an appeal of the court action that gave the go-ahead for the operation.
Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, Archbishop Emeritus of Ravenna, described the situation as 'unacceptable'. He made it clear that he respects the court's decision although he does not share it. However he regretted that the possibility to the House of Lords was too expensive for the parents.
"One can discuss ad infinitum the possibility of letting these lives die, or of saving one and killing the other," the cardinal said. "However, there is something that is not up for debate: the parents' right to give an answer, because, barring proof to the contrary, responsibility for life and education in our civilization is the domain of parents."
Last Wednesday a spokeswoman at St. Mary's Hospital in Manchester said 3-month-old Jodie, the surviving twin, was in critical but stable condition after the 20-hour operation that separated her from her sister Mary. Mary died, as doctors expected.
The cardinal added, "There is an aspect that no one mentions: that the judge's sentence was motivated by the fact that Mary was the leech of the other one. She exploited the other one. We hear it said that the decision to operate was also taken because the brain of one was weaker than the brain of the other, less intelligent, reasons that are truly unacceptable."