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PARENTS CONSENT TO SEPARATING TWINS

The parents of conjoined twin girls have decided not to appeal a court ruling permitting surgery to separate the two, a lawyer for the weaker twin said today.

Doctors said surgery would allow one twin, known as Jodie, to have a normal life, but that her weaker sister, Mary, would not survive the surgery. If the girls were not separated, doctors said, they both would die within months.

The parents, identified only as Catholics from the Maltese island of Gozo in the Mediterranean, came to Manchester for the Aug. 8 birth of the twins, who were joined at the lower abdomen.

Official Solicitor Laurence Oates, who represented Mary before the Court of Appeal, which issued its ruling last week, said he had decided against an appeal to the House of Lords after being notified that the parents did not want to do so.

Three judges of the Court of Appeal ruled Friday that the case came down to self-defense -- the right of the stronger twin to be released from a sister who eventually would kill them both.

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