In India, a girl with named Lakshmi just survived a surgery to remove four extra limbs. I’m glad to hear that she made it out ok, and it’s certainly a heartening story.
What particularly interests me about this case, though, is how it illustrates some of the problems with the anti-choice (and particularly Catholic and Evangelical Christian) conception of personhood. According to anti-choice ideology, life begins at the point of fertilization, and an embryo is not only human, but a unique human being deserving of all the rights endeared to you and I. Abortion, and even contraception, is murder because it terminates a unique human life.
The girl named Lakshmi is joined to a ”parasitic twin” that stopped developing in the mother’s womb. The surviving fetus absorbed the limbs, kidneys and other body parts of the undeveloped fetus.
So is Lakshmi one person, or two? How does the experience of this very real, born human being square with anti-choice ideology?
Obviously, I think it’s totally justified to remove Lakshmi’s parasitic twin. But the parallels with pregnancy are something to consider. And I wonder which logical hoops one would have to jump through in justifying the removal of a parasitic twin, but outlawing the removal of a fetus or embryo.
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