A premature baby in England has survived after she was born at 23 weeks — opening up a debate about when abortions are legal in the U.K. Data from 25 British hospitals over the past four years shows that 120 babies born at 23 weeks survived while around 560 babies are aborted at 23 weeks’ gestation every year in the U.K. alone.
A large number of premature babies born at 23 weeks now survive but current laws in the United Kingdom allow abortions up to 24 weeks — or later. For a so-called “normal” baby who is perfectly health, an abortion can only be performed up until the 24th week of pregnancy. But if a baby is “disabled?” Women can abort them right up to the 40th week, even for something as small as a cleft lip.
Under the 1967 Abortion Act, an abortion can be carried out up until 24 weeks gestation if two doctors agree that the physical or mental health of the woman or the child would be at risk if the pregnancy were to continue. But doctors can also approve an abortion up to 40 weeks if doctors think there is a “substantial risk” that the child will be “seriously” handicapped. This reason is given in around 2,700 cases a year where babies die.
But pro-life groups want to change the law to ban abortions that late in pregnancy and move the time period up so more babies are protected from abortions.
They are aided in that effort by the birth of a beautiful little girl at 23 weeks. Here is more on Lily’s story:
Lily was just 1lb, 3oz when she was born at 23 weeks – a time when she could still legally be aborted. Pro-life groups have long argued that no healthy baby should be aborted while they have chance of life. When Lily Burrows was born at 23 weeks, doctors gave her mother heartbreaking news.
Weighing 1lb 3oz, little Lily had just a 5 per cent chance of survival, they said. Even if she did survive, they said her body was so under-developed that she would have long-term health problems and may need lifelong medical care.
But, now aged five, Lily is now thriving as she starts school.
Her mother, Gillian Lindsay, 30, said: ‘To see Lily racing about so excited at starting school, you’d never believe how tiny she was at birth and what a battle she has faced to live.
‘Doctors told me she had less than a 5 per cent chance of survival and at one point she was so poorly, they even talked about turning off her life support. But Lily had other ideas.’
Lily stayed at Edinburgh Royal Hospital for 101 days after her birth in March 2009.
She is now starting at St Mary’s Primary School in Bonnyrigg, near Edinburgh – and there is barely a clue as to her difficult start to life. Her mother said her daughter was a ‘very clever, very active and very loving little girl’.
She added: ‘I owe so much to the midwives, doctors and nurses who looked after her in those early days.’