Baby Born With Two Faces In Australia Sparks Abortion Debate

Despite their doctors’ advice to have the pregnancy terminated, Sydney mother Renee Young opted to give birth to conjoined twins who share a single head and body but have two different faces.

The Australian mother welcomed baby girls Faith and Hope Thursday last week in Sydney’s Blacktown Hospital via Cesarean section. The baby girls’ deformity was discovered during a previous ultrasound visit, where they were warned by doctors that their babies’ condition would be very complex to handle when they come out.

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Baby girls Faith and Hope share a single body, including lungs, heart, stomach, liver, spleen, large and small intestines and pancreas. However, they have two separate brains connected by one brain stem. They also have two separate faces shared on one head, with two of their eyes almost overlapping with each other.

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Doctors call this Diprosopus, a rare condition that has so far been confirmed on only 35 known cases. None of them had survived.

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But Renee and her partner, Simon Howie, are optimistic about their newborn baby girls. In an exclusive interview with Australian A Current Affair, the couple revealed their excitement over the baby. Howie said:

“We sort of looked at it as; it’d be the same as being a child with autism or Down syndrome. I sort of don’t believe in terminating the baby if it’s healthy and growing fine and everything is going to plan”

Renee added:

“I would say, if I only get two days with the baby, I only get two days with the baby – at least I have some time with it”

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Netizens took to social media and internet forums their support for the couple and the baby girls. On the Daily Mail forum, readers shared their excitement over the twin babies’ miraculous birth. Reader wolfgang from Germany said:

“There all going to need lots of love and care so with the help of G+d [sic], loving care and goodwill, I pray for a happy ending!”

Another user, masha from UK, slammed readers who supported the termination advice:

“They are human like us and should NOT be terminated. Period!”

However, not everyone shared the couple’s enthusiasm. Many opined that the baby should have been terminated early on. One reader wrote:

“I don’t agree. They should have been terminated – they wouldn’t know anything about it and it would save them a possible life of heartbreak, or a short life. And I don’t agree with abortions at all. This case is different.”

Another wrote:

“Having tried to conceive for 8 years, I am strongly against abortion in most circumstances, but honestly, what sort of life will these babies have?”

These comments were met with backlash from other netizens, who believe that allowing the baby girls to be born was the right decision for the couple.

Regardless of differing opinions on the matter, Renee and Simon are focused on bracing themselves for whatever medical issues that they will have to face. For now, they are filled with joy over the birth of their babies. As of Monday this week, the babies are on stable condition and are breathing without assistance.

What is your stance on this issue?

[Images from A Current Affairs and Daily Mail]