Two sisters, convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to life imprisonment are at the center of controversy now that Governor Haley Barbour decided to suspend their sentence contingent on one sister giving the other sister a kidney in transplant.
Marshall Scott, a certified Hospital Chaplain (and regular contributor here at the Café) invites us to take a closer look at the case of these two sisters:
"Governor Barbour has decided they can leave prison. Unusually, he has not decided to commute their sentences. Instead, he has decided to suspend their sentences. An important difference between commuting the sentences and suspending the sentences is that once commuted, the sentence is ended, while a suspension can be made conditional.
And in this case, there is reportedly a condition, at least for one of the sisters. Jamie is in kidney failure and quite ill. Her care requires dialysis. Her suspension is on compassionate grounds, although the governor was explicit that the cost to the state of Jamie's dialysis was also an issue. For Gladys, on the other hand, there is a condition for the suspension of her sentence: that she donate a kidney to be transplanted into her sister. Now, this is something that Gladys is willing to do; indeed, it was her idea. However, that raises a question of why it should be made a condition. Fact is, it's not known whether she's actually a compatible donor. The sisters share a blood type, and that's some indication, but it's not the only measure.
In news reports and in blog comments, it's been widely noted that this raises all sorts of ethical questions. However, I haven't yet found an analysis of why. So, I thought I'd consider the question in light of the Georgetown Mantra."
Read the full article here.