A baby boy who survived a botched abortion at 22 weeks was wrapped in a sheet and left to die by staff at the Rossano Calabro hospital in Italy.
But the remarkable youngster fought to live for almost two days, and in Britain his fight for life is likely to fuel calls for a reduction in the upper time limit for abortions, which is allowed up to 24 weeks.
The day after the abortion the baby boy, who still had his umbilical cord attached, was discovered moving and breathing by a Roman Catholic priest.
The baby was rushed to another nearby hospital where he died the following day, and his death has caused outrage among pro-lifers.
A spokesman for the ProLife Alliance said: “There cannot be anybody in the world who is not horrified by a story like this nor anybody in the UK who would not support a massive reduction in the upper limit for abortion.”
Press reports indicate that the mother, who was pregnant for the first time, had chosen to have an abortion because scans had suggested that the baby could be disabled.
Italian law requires doctors to preserve the life of a child if it survives an abortion.
Italian police officers are treating the incident as a “homicide”.
Earlier this month it was revealed that the number of babies born weighing just 2lbs has more than doubled in the last two years, causing pro-lifers to reinforce the demand to lower the abortion limit from 24 weeks.
Statistics do not disclose at what stage the babies were born but reports suggest that a child weighing under 2lbs 3oz is likely to have been born at least three months early.
This would inevitably include some babies being born at an age when they could, in other circumstances, have been aborted.