Medicine: The Hardest Choice

In Baltimore three years ago, the parents of a newborn Mongoloid baby refused to allow an operation to correct a fatal defect in the infant's digestive tract. Despite pressure from doctors and hospital personnel, they refused to change their minds, and the child slowly starved to death.

In Portland, Me., last month, when parents made a similar decision about their severely deformed infant, hospital officials asked a court to decide. A judge, holding that the baby had a right to live, issued an order that allowed doctors to operate on the child. Despite the...

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