Late-term abortions have become a heated debate topic in both the U.S. and the UK in the past few months. Some of the most powerful stories coming out of the debate are those of very premature babies who were born before the legal abortion limit.
Deborah Jackson’s son Ollie is one of them.
The British mom gave birth to Ollie and his twin Owen after just 23 weeks of pregnancy, one week before the legal abortion limit in England, according to the Mirror. The twins were so small that doctors said there was no hope of their survival. Tragically, the prediction came true for Owen, who died in Jackson’s arms just an hour after he was born.
Ollie survived. The tiny boy spent six months in the hospital battling kidney failure and brain and lung bleeds; but three years later, he is doing well, according to the report.
Jackson said she hopes Ollie’s story will help people understand the value of babies like her son and motivate them to change the current abortion laws.
“He’s living proof a baby can survive being born at 23 weeks,” she told the Sunday People. “Babies are dying unnecessarily and should get the chance to fight. It is legal to abort a baby at the same stage as Ollie which distresses me greatly.”
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Here’s more from the report:
… Deborah was rushed to hospital at 22 weeks after a huge bleed and severe cramping. She was sent home as, at under 23 weeks, she couldn’t be admitted to the labour ward.
The cramping worsened and she returned to the hospital. Doctors said she had gone into labour and was having a miscarriage. She was told there was no chance the babies would survive and legally they did not have to intervene. She said: “I was distraught, I couldn’t believe they were just going to let my babies die.”
She was transferred by ambulance to a specialist unit in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.
She said: “I was in an absolute panic. I was told to expect the worst, that if the babies survived they’d be severely disabled.”
After watching Owen die, Jackson said she was hit with a heart-wrenching fear that she would lose Ollie, too. Her fears gave way to hope three minutes later when she heard Ollie let out a tiny squeak. Doctors quickly and rushed her 1 pound 1 ounce baby boy to the neonatal intensive care unit, she remembered.
Ollie spent six months in the hospital where he fought to overcome several lung and brain bleeds and a hole in his heart; he had 20 blood transfusions during the course of his hospital stay, the report states. In September 2013, Jackson finally was allowed to take Ollie home.
“Looking at him today fills me with pride. He is a normal cheeky three-year-old who has brought so much joy to our lives,” she said.
Jackson said she hopes Ollie’s story will prompt the British government to change current abortion laws and protect more babies’ lives.
In the U.S., abortion is legal up until 24 weeks in many states and even later in a few others. Estimates put the number of late-term abortions a year at about 18,000 in the United States. Research from the CDC corroborates those numbers. According to the Centers for Disease Control, which has a long-standing history of under-reporting the total number of abortions in the United States because it doesn’t get numbers from every state (including the largest state, California), 9,709 abortions were done at 18-20 weeks and 7,325 abortions were done on babies older than 21 weeks.
Only nine nations in the world allow abortions after 14 weeks of gestation, according to Americans United for Life.