What makes a person?
Yesterday I was talking with a couple of my colleagues about the cojoined twins in China. They cannot be separated, because they share one and a half hearts, and have only one set of all other organs. They're in critical condition.
And I was thinking, "Separating them? They're not two people. It's one person with two heads."
But one of my colleagues said, "No, it's two people. There are two heads and two brains."
They're twins. Twins that just didn't separate correctly.
And this is horrible, truly horrible, but part of me thinks, well, why wouldn't you just cut off one of the heads, so that the one could have a chance at a normal life? I didn't say this out loud at the office, because of course I don't want them to know what a terrible person I am. (The Internet, however, is a whole nother story.)
Of course, the argument against this is that you'd be killing a person. But it's a person who would be a disembodied head if you separated them. Which makes...a head.
But even if you were allowed to do that - and I don't know that you are, because would it be murder? - you'd have to make a Sophie's choice kind of decision. Which would be brutal.
Which makes this another one of those situations that makes me wonder if there is something very wrong with me.
I know there are stories of cojoined twins having happy lives, playing sports, dating, marrying, having children. I just cannot imagine. Life is hard with the regular amount of everything.
The couple had no idea until three days before the birth that their baby had two heads. Or rather, that they had twins with one body. So it wasn't like they knew ahead of time and made a choice. They didn't know the sex, because according to the article, in China you're not allowed to know, so that you don't have a sex-selective abortion.
This is not something I could handle. But this is also something I know I would never have to. I get to look at this from a very safe distance. I'm quite sure the parents aren't thinking, "Why don't we just cut off a head?"
Why do I think these kinds of things? Particularly when the normal human response is, "Oh, how terrible! I hope they survive!"
And really, what makes a person?