Letter: Science should improve, not negate, the lives of the disabled

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The Independent Online
From Mr Peter Campbell

Sir: Polly Toynbee's article "Sentimentality is not enough" is a criticism of the medical advice, or implied lack of it, given to the Astburys, the expectant parents of Siamese twins. To my mind the article is dangerous in that it develops the theme of Ms Toynbee's apparent inability to love an unborn child, casting the Astburys' love aside as phantasm, and goes on to state that the argument for the Astburys in considering a termination of Mrs Astbury's pregnancy ought to have been put to them "forcefully".

Presumably, Ms Toynbee would hope that by so putting this option to them forcefully, the Astburys could have been spared the pain and suffering which is "unnecessary and misguided".On the contrary, Michael Marrish, Mrs Astbury's obstetrician is to be commended for not seeking to impose his own personal viewpoint on his patient, but rather putting forward the medical options in an apparently neutral manner. Surely neutrality of presentation must necessarily be implicit to the basic human right of freedom of choice.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Campbell

Belfast

13 September

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