When the exclusive story was aired on Australian televisions’ terribly useless investigations program A Current Affair, it was one that had many (including myself) curious and concerned over how a pregnant woman and her partner are expecting a baby with two legs, two arms and one body – all with the vital organs a healthy baby will need to survive. The issue? The baby shares two faces on one skull – eyes, nose, mouth, brains and all – connected on a single stem.
The rare duplication, known as diprosopus, is so rare that only 35 cases have ever been recorded, there are, however, no living survivors.
Renee Young and Simon Howie of Sydney are both out-of-work, claiming welfare benefits with their 7 children. This fact alone will certainly encourage criticism. Though unconfirmed how much they were paid for the exclusive, it is believe that the story was sold to A Current Affair which could also be classified as a fraudulent income if receiving government supplements.
Ms Young, who is classified as disabled in terms of receiving benefit for her rheumatoid arthritis was 15 weeks when doctors suggested that for the welfare of the child; abortion should be considered.
“It’d be the same as being a child with autism or down syndrome … I don’t believe in terminating the baby if it’s healthy and growing fine, and everything is going to plan,” Mr Howie said – a comparison that doesn’t exactly situate itself properly with a rare disorder like this.
The body would have to facilitate two people, the heart would be beating for two and the digestive system as well as all other vital organs would be working extra hard to keep the children alive. Under medical and scientific scrutiny, this doesn’t seem like an overly possible instance.
Advising doctors have stated that there are very low chances of the child (or children) surviving, but if they do it will prove very costly – but not for the couple; another fact that tends to irritate many as the family lives in a four-bedroom council house whilst relying solely on government pensions as income.
On further technicality, the mother of the child will receive two baby bonuses even if the children only survive a few days.
The welfare of the child(ren) are of concern here and responding to the question of whether the parents would need to begin working again to support the numerous problems that will enslave the life of the two-headed baby, the couple insisted they’d get jobs if they had to. If they’re able to work then they should be employed at the moment, no? Perhaps paying for the kids they already have.
So the ultimate issue here is this: Is it cruel to abort a problematic being with an impending medical hell awaiting them, or is it crueller not to?