Modern medical technology has posed an interesting quandary for abortion supporters in England and the United States.
England and many U.S. states prohibit abortions once babies are viable outside the womb, and for many years, viability was considered to be 24 weeks. But, thanks modern medical advancements, more babies who are born before 24 weeks now are surviving and thriving.
Twins Isabelle and Fletcher Salloum are one example. According to the Mirror, the twins were born just before the legal cut-off limit for abortion in the UK.
Today, the twins are 19 months old and doing well, according to the report. Initially, after they were born in March 2015, doctors did not know if they would survive.
“Fletcher arrived first and didn’t cry,” their mother, Alexa, said. “I later learnt he wasn’t breathing. Then, Isabelle came out and started crying. Both were rushed to neo-natal intensive care. Richard [her husband] said they were perfect – small, but perfect.”
At one point in the hospital, the twins were wrapped in ordinary bubble wrap to make them feel comfortable, the report states. During their months-long stay, Isabelle had six operations and Fletcher contracted an illness three different times, according to the report. Both also suffered from chronic lung disease, bowel problems and a heart illness.
The medical team at Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton fought for months to save the twins’ tiny lives. The family said they brought Fletcher home in July 2015 and Isabelle in August 2015.
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“They really are amazing,” Alexa said. “They’re well worth all the heartache and five days of labour.”
In 2015, a major study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that more premature babies are surviving after just 23 weeks in the womb – a stage when they still can be legally aborted in most U.S. states and England.
“Extremely pre-term babies born before the 28th week are now surviving in greater numbers, and their outcomes are better when you look at the illnesses they have” in neo-natal intensive care units, said Rosemary Higgins, senior author of the study.
This new reality questions the legality of late-term abortion, which occurs in at least 275 abortion facilities across the country. The Centers for Disease Control reported that in 2011 alone there were 7,325 abortions on babies older than 21 weeks.
Abortion is wrong at every stage of an unborn baby’s life; and these babies’ stories demonstrate how poor of a determinate viability is for the value of a human life. Yet, Roe v. Wade and its companion case Doe v. Bolton used the viability marker for just that purpose. In the cases, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states are allowed to restrict abortions after viability because “the fetus then presumably has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb.”
As pro-life blogger Paul Pauker pointed out, the Supreme Court’s “argument is illogical and unjustifiable. A fetus inside the womb and an infant outside the womb are both still completely dependent on others for survival. The claim that one has the capability of meaningful life and the other doesn’t has no medical or legal basis.”
These cases and their arguments are not only wrong but also outdated. It’s difficult to argue that a human being’s life and worth should be based on a society’s current medical technology. The only consistent determinate is the moment when life beings – at conception.