British miracle baby survives 2-day abortion procedure; child 'defeated all the odds'

WASHINGTON (BP)--Sometimes an abortion does not produce a dead child. In a recently reported case from Great Britain, even multiple attempts at an abortion failed to do so.

A baby boy who survived repeated efforts to kill him while he was in the womb is doing well as a 2-year-old, according to a report in a British medical journal. Physicians at Salford’s Hope Hospital, where the infant was treated after his birth 24 weeks into his mother’s pregnancy, believe he is the most prematurely born baby to survive abortion long term.

The infant’s travails began when his mother, 24 and already the single parent of a 19-month-old child, learned she was pregnant at 22 weeks, according to a Feb. 14 online article of the Manchester News. The newspaper reported she chose to have an abortion and was given four different drugs during a two-day span for the purpose of taking her child’s life.

The clinic informed the woman the baby was dead and she should return in four days for the body to be removed, according to the report. On a train ride home, however, she felt her child move and quickly changed her mind about the abortion.

She went into labor the same day and gave birth four days later. The boy, born in November 2002, weighed only a pound and a half. Though he was on a ventilator for more than seven weeks and had to overcome blood infections and chronic lung problems, the infant left the hospital at seven months of age. He had only a mild development delay by 10 months.

“It has defeated all the odds,” said Paul Clarke, a former doctor at the hospital and one of four physicians who wrote on the case for the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, according to the News. The mother “had guilt stemming from the fact she knew if she had not gone through with the [abortion] procedure it would not have been born prematurely,” he said.

A British pro-life leader lauded the mother, whose name and that of her son have not been revealed.

“One can only praise this woman for the courage she showed in having the baby in what was a very difficult situation,” Julia Millington of the ProLife Alliance told the newspaper. “The public is becoming increasingly aware of what exactly we are permitting when babies are aborted at 22, 23 or 24 weeks when they could survive.”

About 2 percent of abortions in England and Wales are done at 20 weeks or later in pregnancy, but the number of babies who are born alive despite the procedure is unknown, the newspaper reported.

According to the News, Mike Robinson, a coauthor with Clarke of the report, said, “[W]hen a woman goes to have a termination she should be aware that, while the pregnancy will end, the life of the baby may not.”

The survival of a baby despite an abortion has been labeled the “dreaded complication” for those who perform the procedure. Instead of seeking to save such children, doctors in the United States and other countries often have permitted their death through neglect or starvation or killed them through such means as suffocation.

Several years ago, it was revealed some doctors in the United States were using a late-term abortion method that frequently produced surviving children. The procedure, which nurses testified was used at Christ Hospital in Chicago, is called live-birth abortion. In the method, delivery is induced. If the baby survives the procedure, he is left unattended to die.

Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2002 a bill designed to prohibit such a practice. The Born Alive Infants Protection Act clarified a newborn child fully outside his mother's womb is a person to be protected under federal law. This includes every human infant “born alive at any stage of development,” according to the measure.


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