Early baby survival rates fuel calls for lower abortion limit

Hundreds of premature babies born before the upper time limit for abortion are surviving, the Department of Health has admitted.

In 2005 there were 250 babies born between 22 and 24 weeks of pregnancy who survived beyond their first birthday, according to official figures.

The numbers were revealed in answer to a written Parliamentary question from David Amess MP.

A recent study by medics at University College London found that survival rates were over 70 per cent for babies born between 22 and 25 weeks when high quality care was available.

These statistics call into question the recent conclusions of the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee, which found ‘no reason’ for reducing the 24 week limit.

In 2006 over 1,000 babies were aborted between 22 and 24 weeks’ gestation. Pro-life campaigners point out that these babies were more likely to be viable than babies born prematurely.

Former nurse and now Conservative MP, Nadine Dorries, said: “Even more viable babies are being aborted than these figures would suggest. If you go into labour at 22 weeks, there is something wrong with you or your baby. Most babies aborted at 22 weeks are healthy, so their survival chances would be even higher.”

Amendments on abortion are expected in the coming months as the highly controversial Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill makes its way through the Commons.

Related Resources