Very Premature Baby Leaves British Hospital, Sparks Abortion Debate

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 28, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Very Premature Baby Leaves British Hospital, Sparks Abortion Debate Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 28
, 2007

Manchester, England ( — A second very prematurely born baby to overcome long odds and survive has made the news and her survival is sparking a debate over whether or not to limit late-term abortions. Tiny Millie McDonagh has stunned the medical world by beating doctors’ expectations and going home after being born four months premature.

McDonagh was given just a one percent chance of surviving after she was born at 22 weeks into the pregnancy.

At birth, the little girl weighed just 20 ounces (570g) and was only 11 inches (28 cm) long.

According to a London Daily Mail report, Millie is one day older than Amillia Taylor, the premature baby born in Miami who has received national and international attention in recent days.

The newspaper reports that Millie’s parents, Tommy McDonagh and Natalie Matthews, are finally now able to take their daughter home — four months after she was delivered.

Millie received medical attention in the intensive care unit of St. Mary’s Hospital in Manchester following her October birth and she now weighs five pounds. She will need oxygen for a while to help her breathe but her physicians now say she will suffer no long-term health problems from the premature birth.

Looking back on Millie’s progress, her parents are pleasantly surprised.

"I’ll never forget when they told us she had just one chance in a hundred of surviving," father Tommy told the Daily Mail. "We were all over the place, but we couldn’t stop thinking ‘What if she’s the one per cent?’"

"Two weeks after she was born, the staff told us to prepare ourselves that Millie probably wouldn’t live the week," he added. "She stopped breathing for a few minutes the next day, but then she started again. We never gave up hope and she never stopped fighting."

Tommy and Millie’s mother Natalie were initially pregnant with twins and the other twin Ellie died at birth.

The couple had a hard time finding a specialty care unity that could treat Millie but Dr. Anthony Emerson, who is consultant neonatologist at St. Mary’s, told the newspaper that officials are looking at creating more.

The British parliament has previously debated and rejected a bill to limit late-term abortions by lowering the current limit of allowing abortions up until the 24th week of pregnancy. Lawmakers who favored the initial proposal are putting together a revised bill.