Satisfied that a court order to sacrifice the life of one Siamese twin to save the other does not undermine the belief that all life has equal value, the government attorney representing the girl who would die has agreed not to appeal the ruling.

The twins' parents, who are Maltese and Roman Catholics, said last week they also will not appeal the decision, a position that has been criticized by British prolife organizations.

Twins Mary and Jodie are joined at the base of their spines with their legs at right angles to their body. Mary is unable to survive on her own. Her heart, lungs, and brain are said only to be rudimentary. An Appeal Court judge said she was "draining the life-blood" of her healthier sister, Jodie, and was growing at her expense.

Unless the twins are separated, medical experts told the court, both will die. To save Jodie the court ruled that the twins must be separated, an operation which physicians say will result in Mary's death. One judge said she was "designated for death."

The operation to separate the twins could take place early next month. The longer it is delayed, the greater the risk to Jodie of brain damage, doctors have said. But even without Mary, there is no guarantee that Jodie will survive. There also is a risk she may never walk because of the damage to her nerves that will result from severing her spine from Mary's.

The parents begged the court to leave the twins alone and "let God decide." The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, said it is never defensible to take a life to save a life. He worried that the case could set a precedent for lawful killing.

But Laurence Oates, the official solicitor representing Mary, said after discussions with the parents he does ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.