By Gudrun Schultz

VANCOUVER, B.C., October 26, 2006 ( – A young B.C. woman who gave birth to conjoined twin girls yesterday was repeatedly offered an abortion by her doctors during her pregnancy.

Felicia Simms, 21, gave birth to the little girls by caesarian delivery yesterday at 34 weeks gestation, in a complicated surgery attended by a team of 16 doctors at the BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre.

Despite being given just a 20 percent chance of survival, Krista and Tatiana emerged from their mother robust and crying, CanWest reported. The babies are joined at the top of their head, an extremely rare manifestation of a rare condition. Fusing at the head occurs only once in every two and a half million births.

From the first discovery of her twins’ condition, doctors offered Ms. Simms the option of abortion, CanWest reported, citing the poor survival rate for conjoined twins. Forty percent are stillborn, and 75 percent die within the first 24 hours. The odds of a successful separation are very slim, with the twins sharing brain function and blood supply.

Ms. Simms said she never once considered aborting the babies. “I don’t believe in killing life,” she said.

“They’ve got black curly hair and they’re just beautiful,” Louise McKay, the girls’ grandmother, told CTV Vancouver. “They hold each other’s hands…I took a picture of them holding hands, so they’re beautiful.”

Simms, who came from a family of six children, has two older children with her partner Brenden Hogan—four-year-old Rosa and a two-year-old son, Chris.

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