British Lawmakers Use New Premature Birth Study to Back Pro-Abortion Law

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 11, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 11
, 2008

London, England ( — British lawmakers are using a new study saying there has been little change in the survival rates of premature babies over the last 10 years to oppose changes in the nation’s law allowing late-term abortions. Some MPs want England to move the time limit for abortions from 24 weeks into pregnancy to 20 weeks.

A new study examining premature births finds 40 percent of the babies born at 23 weeks of pregnancy don’t survive their time in the delivery ward.

Another stat reveals just 26 percent of all babies born at 23 weeks ever go home with their parents, according to a BBC report on the study.

At 24 weeks into pregnancy, the survival rate increased to 47 percent and it jumps to 67 percent at 25 weeks.

Liberal Democrat MP Dr Evan Harris is already seizing the study’s numbers as a platform to oppose any change in the abortion law.

"This study is crucial in adding to the scientific consensus that there is absolutely no medical basis for a change in the law," he told the BBC.

However, Tory MP Nadine Dorries says the study is flawed because it focused only on the most serious babies born in hospitals without neo-natal units — thereby having an impact on the survival rates.

Dorries also told the BBC other studies show higher survival rates for premature babies than this recent one.

"Figures released by Professor Wyatt from University College London Hospital recently show very clearly that poorly premature babies born below 24 weeks have an excellent chance of survival if specialist neo-natal help is immediately at hand," she said.

Wyatt published research in February showing that the survival rate for babies born between 22 and 25 weeks of pregnancy has risen from 32 percent to 71 percent during the last two decades.