British Doctors Group Discovers 50 Babies Survive Abortions Annually

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 26, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Doctors Group Discovers 50 Babies Survive Abortions Annually Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 26, 2005

London, England ( — As many as 50 babies a year in England survive botched abortion procures, the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has discovered in an internal investigation.

The doctors group is worried that abortion practitioners could be charged with infanticide in such cases. The organization, which backs abortion, has previously established guidelines saying babies aborted more than 21 weeks and 6 days into pregnancy should have their hearts stopped by an injection of potassium chloride before being delivered.

Other guidelines suggest abortion practitioners should make sure babies have died before they are birthed.

But Stuart Campbell, former professor of obstetrics and gynecology at St. George’s hospital, London told the London Times newspaper that some infants survive the abortion procedure.

"They can be born breathing and crying at 19 weeks’ gestation,” he said. “I am not anti-abortion, but as far as I am concerned this is sub-standard medicine.”

The number of babies surviving abortions could rise as the number of late-term abortions in England increase.

According to the Times, abortions performed after 18 weeks of pregnancy rose from 5,166 in 1994 to 7,432 last year. Part of that has to do with the increased use of prenatal tests to diagnose physical and mental disabilities and unborn children with such conditions are routinely aborted.

Abortions are legal up to 24 weeks of pregnancy in Britain, even though abortion limits in the rest of Europe don’t allow late-term abortions.

Campbell, who published a book of ultrasound photos last year including pictures of babies smiling and "walking," said some in the medical community are increasingly concerned about abortions on babies who could be born alive.

“If viability is the basis on which they set the 24-week limit for abortion, then the simplest answer is to change the law and reduce the upper limit to 18 weeks,” he said.

Shantala Vadeyar, a consultant obstetrician at South Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust, who led another study of babies who survive abortions found 31 such infants born in northwest England between 1996 and 2001.

“If a baby is born alive following a failed abortion and then dies (because of lack of care), you could potentially be charged with murder,” she explained.

In the United States, President Bush signed a national law mandating the babies who survive botched abortions be given appropriate medical care and treatment.