Story of Premature Baby Prompts Calls to Lower Britain Abortion Limits

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 25, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Story of Premature Baby Prompts Calls to Lower Britain Abortion Limits Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 25
, 2007

London, England ( — The story of the birth of a baby in the United States who some doctors consider the world’s most premature baby to have survived is prompting more calls for Britain to restrict late-term abortions. A previous push for legislation to disallow abortions into viability failed to secure enough votes.

England currently allows abortions through the 24th week of pregnancy, which medical experts and pro-life groups say pushes abortion into the period when unborn children can survive outside their mother’s womb.

As many as 2,000 abortions occur in Britain annually during the 22-24 week period generally though to be the point of viability.

Professor Stuart Campbell, a consultant at the Create Health Clinic and formerly head of obstetrics and gynecology at King’s College School of Medicine, told the London telegraph newspaper that Britain should change its laws.

"To me it seems utterly illogical that, in adjacent wards, one doctor is struggling to save a baby delivered at 23 weeks while another is aborting a healthy baby of the same age," he said.

Campbell is reacting to news about Amillia Taylor, who was born at just 21 weeks into the pregnancy four months ago at Miami’s Baptist Children’s Hospital. With no baby born before 23 weeks surviving at length, her story has become a worldwide sensation.

Taylor was just 284 grams (10 ounces) and 24 centimeters (9.25 inches) long when she was born and doctors typically say that babies weighing less than 400 grams have very little change of surviving.

Babies born at full-term typically spent 37 to 40 weeks inside their mothers before delivery.

Her mother, 37 year-old Sonja Taylor, faced fertility issues and used in-vitro fertilization to conceive Amillia. But she battled problems throughout the pregnancy.

Mother delivered baby at 21 weeks on October 24 and Amillia was barely breathing. Her parents named her for a Latin word meaning "resilient, fighter, hardworking."

Tory MP Nadine Dorries sponsored a bill in the British parliament last year that would push the abortion limit up to 21 weeks.

Though the parliament failed to approve the bill, she said in December she would come back with a revises proposal calling for a halt to abortions at 20 weeks and a one-week reflection period between the request for the abortion and when it’s done, shorter than the 10 day period in her previous bill.

"Clearly this is a barbaric practice and I will not stop campaigning until it is outlawed," she told the BBC.

Her first bill, which failed on a 187-108 vote, divided the pro-life community with some supporting the limits and others saying they didn’t go far enough and contained too many exceptions to adequately protect unborn children.

Last month, England marked the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act, which allowed unlimited abortions through 24 week of pregnancy.

There are about 180,000 abortions done annually in England and Wales each year.