‘The answer is that there is no good answer. So as parents, as doctors, as judges, and as a society, we fumble through and make decisions that allow us to sleep at night—because morals are more important than ethics, and love is more important than law.’

This quote, spoken by Judge DeSalvo, appears in Campbell’s section during the novel’s second Thursday, shortly before the Judge gives his decision. The quote raises a recurring theme in the novel: that no clear distinction always exists between right and wrong. As Judge DeSalvo also says, Anna’s quality of life is inextricably tied to Kate’s sanctity of life. In other words, the more Anna must act as Kate’s donor, the more Anna’s quality of life deteriorates. She has to suffer through painful procedures like bone-marrow extraction and has to give up things she wants, such as hockey camp. But without Anna making these sacrifices to serve as Kate’s donor, Kate would die. The situation raises serious questions: does keeping Kate alive justify causing Anna to suffer, and at what level of Anna’s suffering does that tradeoff become invalid?

The court is supposed to hear all the facts and testimonies of those involved and determine what, in this situation, is ethically and legally correct. But throughout the trial, we hear multiple characters testify that they don’t know the right answer. Just before he breaks down in tears, Brian acknowledges that he doesn’t have a clear answer. Julia, who the court appointed as Anna’s guardian ad litem specifically to determine what is best for Anna, admits that she cannot reach a definitive conclusion. Sara, in her closing argument, tells the court she doesn’t know what is moral or legal, just that she knows it’s right to do everything to keep Kate alive. Finally, Judge DeSalvo, in his ruling, admits that no good solution exists, and that ultimately people make imperfect decisions based not on ethics or law but on personal morals and the love we feel for the people we care about.