One of the youngest surviving premature babies in Europe and the world is heading home from the hospital after spending more than four months in an incubator. The child is a reminder that abortion has a link to increase risk of premature birth.
From the story:
The baby weighed just 460 grams when she born in early November at just 21 weeks and five days, and was not initially expected to survive. The general view of the Association of Neonatology is that babies born before the 22nd week of pregnancy will not live.
Yet the little girl, called Frieda, now weighs in at a healthy 3,500 grams and is being sent home in Fulda near Frankfurt.
Her mother, who has asked not to be identified, experienced problems in the 15th week of the pregnancy and was admitted to hospital to reverse the onset of early labor. But doctors managed to delay the birth by a further ten days, but no more than that. As soon as the tiny baby was born she was whisked into an incubator and intensively cared for.
“Her life was hanging from a thread, but she fought through,” said Reinald Repp, head doctor at Fulda Hospital. “There is no indication that she cannot be healthy.”
There are no reports in medical literature of more premature babies having survived, although some who were born physically smaller than Frieda have made it. One little boy was born in Ottawa, Canada in 1987 at the same stage of pregnancy – 21 weeks and five days – and survived.
According to the March of Dimes, more than half a million babies are born prematurely in the United States alone each year. Yet most people — including women at risk of abortion and their loved ones — are unaware that abortion has been linked to an increased risk of preterm birth among subsequently born babies.
In a paper published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 2009, a Canadian research team examined data from 37 studies and found that having a prior abortion increased the risk of subsequent preterm birth by 35 percent, while having more than one prior abortion increased the risk by 93 percent. (Preterm birth is defined as a birth that takes place before 37 weeks gestation.)
In other words, children whose mothers had a previous abortion were more likely to be born prematurely, putting them at greater risk for problems such as low-birth weight (which has been linked to physical and developmental problems), epilepsy, autism, mental retardation2 and cerebral palsy. A research team looking at data from 2002 estimated that prior abortions led to 1,096 cases of cerebral palsy among babies born prematurely that year.
There are risks to the mother with preterm birth as well, as other studies have found that women who give birth at less than 32 weeks double their lifetime risk of breast cancer.
Evidence linking abortion and preterm birth continues to pile up, researchers and advocates say. Another paper published in 2009 found that found that having a previous abortion raised a woman’s relative odds of having a subsequent birth at less than 32 weeks by 64 percent.5
Further, as far back as 2006 the Institute of Medicine included “prior first trimester abortion” on a list of risk factors associated with premature birth.6 However, as Brent Rooney, Director of Research for the Reduce Preterm Birth Coalition, has pointed out, abortions continue to be performed despite the strong evidence of risks—and in the absence of any evidence showing the procedure to be harmless.
And even as the evidence linking abortion and preterm birth continues to pile up, women and their loved ones are not being told of the risks. The result is that women and girls will end up undergoing abortions without having the information needed to make a decision. And it puts the mothers, their unborn children and any future children they may have at risk.