Recently we reported on Meabh McArdle, the ‘miracle’ baby who was given less than a 1% chance of surviving after being born at 23 weeks.
Now her mother is speaking out about the ‘disgraceful’ abortion law operating in the UK, saying that “every baby deserves a fighting chance”.
In England, Scotland and Wales, where the 1967 Abortion Act applies, abortion is allowed up to 24 weeks for a range of reasons. This has led to a situation where abortions are carried out virtually on demand up to this 24-week limit. Abortion is allowed up to birth if doctors believe the baby will be born with a disability.
The law is more restrictive in Northern Ireland, despite continued attempts by powerful lobby groups – such as Amnesty International and numerous UN committees – to weaken it.
Fionnuala, who gave birth to her baby daughter in Belfast last year weighing just one pound, says she cannot believe that abortion laws are so weak in mainland Britain.
“It makes me sick to my stomach”
“The fact I could’ve had an abortion after she was born [i.e. after her due date] is an absolute disgrace – it makes me sick to my stomach,” said Fionnuala, speaking to the Daily Mail.
“I want people to see how beautiful she is and how every baby deserves a fighting chance.
“When I gave birth to her she had hands and feet and a gorgeous little face – I think some people don’t realise how developed they are at that age.
“Breaks my heart”
“It breaks my heart that people can abort a baby when I see what she looked like at 23 weeks…”
She added: “It took Meabh five and a half months to be well enough to come home, but it’s all been so worth it. It’s still hard now, but she’s brilliant and such a happy little baby.”
The mother-of-one previously suffered three miscarriages due to a septate uterus, which didn’t allow her pregnancies to get past 12 weeks.
Fighting for her life
She spent the first six months fighting for survival on the neonatal intensive care unit at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital.
Meabh was born with Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), a congenital heart defect meaning she had an abnormal source of blood flow to the lungs.
She also suffered with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), meaning her eyes were not developed properly and her retina did not receive enough oxygen.
“The scariest thing I’ve ever been through”
She was given a fifty per cent chance of being blind and underwent two operations to preserve her sight. She is still being tube-fed and is also on oxygen.
“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever been through,” Fionnuala said.
“When I was admitted to hospital with the discharge the doctors told me the chances of her surviving were so low.
“I’m just so happy to have her home”
“They said that it was like she was lying in a bag of pus inside the womb. That was five minutes prior to me giving birth, so I was terrified.
“Now, I’m just so happy to have her home.
“She’s still only the same size as a newborn, but her weight has gone up to 8lbs and 15 ounces which is definitely an improvement.
“Meabh is such a bubbly, beautiful and amazing little girl who defied all of the odds that were stacked against her.”