New British Study on Premature Births Used to Justify Late-Term Abortions

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

New British Study on Premature Births Used to Justify Late-Term Abortions

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 9
, 2008

London, England ( — A new study in England claiming no progress has been made in improving survival rates for unborn children born premature is being used to justify late-term abortions there. MPs are using the new study to oppose an effort to move the limit on such abortions back from 24 weeks to 20 weeks.

The new study, published in the British Medical Journal, shows prospects for babies born at 24 weeks into pregnancy or earlier are dim.

Professor David Field of the neonatal unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary claims medical technology may have advanced as far as it can go in keeping babies alive so early in pregnancy.

The doctors looked at survival rates among prematurely born children in one region of England and found that, while survival rates among babies born at 24 to 25 weeks into pregnancy had improved, they did not increase for babies born at 22 to 23 weeks.

According to the London Guardian newspaper, the report showed 18 percent of babies survived at 23 weeks into pregnancy and none of the 150 babies born at 22 weeks survived.

Three pro-abortion MPs released a statement, according to the Guardian, saying the results show pro-life advocates shouldn’t win the day on the debate to limit late-term abortions.

"This peer-reviewed, published research from an entire population over many years completely blows out of the water the spurious claim of anti-abortionists that the threshold of foetal viability has reduced from 24 weeks since the early 1990s," they said.

But Nadine Dorries, the Tory MP leading the fight for late-term abortion limits, dismissed the study and said it doesn’t mean healthy babies should be killed.

"I think this report insults the intelligence of the public and MPs alike. No improvement in neonatal care in 12 years? Really? So where has all the money that has been pumped into neonatal services gone then?"

She called the study "the most desperate piece of trash produced by the pro-choice lobby."

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.