According to the Office for National Statistics, 80% of babies born extremely premature will survive. Professor Neil Marlow, a consultant neonatologistat University College London Hospital said, “We found that babies born at 27, 28, 29 weeks, which had really high mortality rates when I was doing the first study, are now doing well and living normal lives.”
In 1974 the outlook for a baby born before 26 weeks – two thirds of the way through a normal pregnancy – was poor. ‘They almost certainly wouldn’t have survived,’ Dr Mike Smith, a paediatric consultant who started working with premature babies that year, says.
Before 1995 evidence about the survival and care of premature babies was – like this – largely anecdotal. Then a groundbreaking study called EPICure recorded all births in the UK between 20 and 25 weeks, six days. Out of 4,001 births, the first EPICure study (another study took place in 2006 and the latest, following the original children, now aged 19, is due to be finished next year) found that 311 babies survived and were eventually discharged, including two babies born at 22 weeks, six at 23 weeks, 100 at 24 weeks and 186 babies at 25. The study concluded that babies born before 24 weeks who survived were still ‘unusual’.
But now, thanks to medical advances, more and more micropreemies, that is babies born before 26 weeks, survive. The Telegraph shared that from the 1970s to the 1990s doctors typically would not treat a baby born before 23-24 weeks. Sometimes they would ventilate the baby, but otherwise the baby was left alone. The medical problems these babies faced included everything from unformed lungs to a damaged brain to tissue, but these issues are no longer considered “untreatable. ”
The youngest baby to survive was born at 21 weeks and the record of the world’s most premature baby belongs to James Elgin Gill; a Canadian boy born at just 21 weeks 5 days. James was expected to die at birth, however, he survived and in 2006 was a healthy teenager headed off to college.
However, despite advances in neonatal care and the fact that these babies can live outside the womb, many abortion advocates oppose bans on painful late-term abortion. Sadly, in New Mexico, Colorado and Maryland abortionists are performing abortions on fully formed babies in the womb. While some abortion advocates argue that women pursue late-abortion only for medically unsafe pregnancies, in 2003, Katha Pollitt, wrote an article for The Nation discussing late-term abortion.
She said the three most common reasons women gave for late abortion were 1) they didn’t realize they were pregnant, 2) had difficulty making arrangements and 3) were afraid of tell their parents or partner.
And in 2013, Abby Johnson debunked the myth that abortion clinics only defer women to late abortionists if they have medical problems. In a statement, the former Planned Parenthood Director said, “… it is false to say the women who choose late-term abortion do so because of medical reasons. We referred hundreds of women to abort their babies after 24 weeks…not one was for medical reasons.”
Additionally, late abortion is considered so barbaric that America is only one of four countries (along with China, North Korea and Canada) worldwide that allow it. But in 2013, the United States made a big first step in outlawing abortion after 20 weeks. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill that bans abortion at 20 weeks, with a 228-196 vote.
Although U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to allow the bill to come to a vote and President Obama threatened to veto it, if pro-lifers gain the upper hand in the U.S. Senate election next month, our country will have a better chance at passing common-sense protections for unborn children.
This is why it is critical that ALL pro-lifers are registered to vote and vote pro-life on November 4th!