An international debate about late-term abortions is flaring up again because of babies like Arthur Brumby.
The British infant is one of a growing number of premature babies to survive birth prior to the legal abortion limit. The United Kingdom and a number of states in America prohibit abortions after 24 weeks because it was considered the point of viability for many years. However, modern medicine has pushed back viability to approximately 22 weeks. The youngest known infant to survive was 21 weeks and four days.
Arthur’s parents described his life as a “Christmas miracle” to the Daily Mail. He was born on Oct. 31 after just 23 weeks of pregnancy, weighing 1 pound, 2 ounces.
“He shouldn’t be here. But he is, and he is wonderful,” said his mother, Laura Hillary, of Nottingham.
His conception also was a miracle. Arthur’s dad, James Brumby, struggles with Crohn’s disease, while Hillary has suffered from several different infertility issues, including endometriosis, according to the report. The couple thought they might never have children. But a few months after they became engaged, they discovered that they were pregnant.
Hillary said doctors monitored her pregnancy closely because she had a high risk of miscarriage. During her 20 week scan, she felt relieved to hear that all appeared well.
But 23 weeks into her pregnancy, Hillary said her water broke while she was cooking supper.
“We went into absolute panic mode. We rang the hospital and they said to come in straight away,” his mother said.
After a long labor, Hillary gave birth to Arthur on Oct. 31. Before his parents even had the chance to hold him, Arthur went to the neo-natal intensive care unit where a team of doctors and nurses worked to save his life, the report states.
“He’d initially been wrapped in a plastic freezer bag to replicate the womb, but he was by this point in an incubator,” Hillary remembered. “He had wires coming in and out of him and was tiny.”
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Numerous health problems are common among very premature babies, and Arthur was no exception; but his parents said they could tell early on that he was a fighter.
“He was clearly fighting to be there,” Hillary said. “The doctors were trying to put tubes in him and he was fighting them off. It was amazing to see.”
Arthur survived two brain bleeds and e. coli, and he will need heart surgery in the future, according to the report. And although he is expected to spend several more months in the hospital, doctors said he is doing well.
His parents said they are planning to celebrate Christmas with their son in the hospital.
The Daily Mail explained what Arthur’s life and those of many other preemies like him mean in the abortion debate:
Yet, campaigners urge for the time-limit to be reduced as figures revealed earlier this year show one-third of babies born at 23 weeks survive.
It is a question of whether these babies’ lives are valuable. Pro-lifers know that every human life is valuable from conception to natural death, and desire to save every human life from abortion and other threats. While a complete end to legalized abortion seems highly unlikely right now, there is legal precedent and strong public support for a prohibition on abortions after viability.
Premature babies like Arthur put a face to this important debate and help to demonstrate to the public that these babies are valuable and deserving of protection under the law.