On May 6, a study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine that reveals that more “micro preemies” are living outside the womb than doctors thought possible. Currently, a micro preemie is considered to be a baby born weighing less than 1 pound, 12 ounces or before 26-weeks.
According to the New York Times, the study found that some babies born at 22-weeks who receive advanced medical care have survived with few health problems. Additionally, researchers said that of the 755 born at 23 weeks, treatment was given to 542. Of those, about a third of those survived, and about half of the babies had no significant health problems.
For example, 22-week-old Micah Pickering (shown above) was born in 2012 and is now a fairly healthy toddler. His parents, Danielle and Clayton Pickering, chose to pursue treatment for their baby even though his health appeared grim. Danielle said, “We figured he was our baby, and he was what the Lord had given us, and we would just do everything we could.”
In total, Danielle said Micah spent more than four months in intensive care, had heart surgery, and was “one of the sickest babies” at the hospital. She added that “he’s is a spunky almost 3-year-old,” who has chronic lung disease and a slight speech delay.
This information could have a huge impact on legal abortion because the Supreme Court made fetal viability an important concept in Roe vs. Wade. In fact, the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute states, “a woman’s right to an abortion is not absolute; states may restrict or ban abortions after fetal viability, provided that their policies meet certain requirements.”
Dr. Edward Bell, a pediatrics professor at the University of Iowa who led the study, said that he considers 22-weeks a new marker of fetal viability. Medical student Matthew Rysavy who assisted Dr. Bell said, “We can’t really say whether the differences revolve around differences in values, that for some physicians or parents the risk of impairment might outweigh the decision for treatment.”
Dr. Bell added, “That’s what we think, but this is a pretty controversial area. I guess we would say that these babies deserve a chance.”
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Unfortunately, the study also found that some hospitals are more likely to treat babies who are closer to 23-weeks than 22-weeks because their odds of survival are higher. Dr. Neil Marlow, a neonatologist at University College London said, “It’s very difficult to say to a mother, ‘If you deliver today, I’m going to do nothing, but if you deliver tomorrow, I’m going to do everything.”
As LifeNews previously reported, 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.
Here’s Micah now: