Abortion reform call as more babies born at 23 weeks survive… such as little Lily who defied doctors’ predictions
Medical advances mean significant numbers of premature babies are surviving being born at 23 weeks – a time when they could still legally be aborted.
Improvements in specialist neo-natal care are likely to reopen the debate over the abortion limit.
Pro-life groups have long argued that no healthy baby should be aborted while they have a chance of life. Current laws allow babies to be aborted at up to 24 weeks.
Some who defend the current threshold argue that the survival rate remains poor if a baby was born at that point.
A commonly cited study, based on evidence gathered in 2006, suggested that just 19 percent of babies born at 23 weeks survived.
But new research shows that many British specialist neo-natal units have vastly improved on those survival rates, and some even see the majority of babies born at 23 weeks surviving.
Data from 25 hospitals over the past four years shows that 120 babies born at 23 weeks survived.
The figures, obtained via Freedom of Information laws by the Sunday Times, show that at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, six of eight babies born at 23 weeks last year survived.
Six of seven babies born at 23 weeks at University College London Hospitals last year lived. All five born at that point at North Bristol NHS Trust last year also survived.
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