One of UK’s earliest babies celebrates her 21st birthday

A woman who was born days before the upper abortion limit has just celebrated her 21st birthday, and voiced her support for a reduction in the termination limit.

Jessica Phelan was born 23 weeks and four days into her mother’s pregnancy, and her comments add to calls for changes to the abortion law.

Miss Phelan was born weighing just 1lb 3oz and at one stage the doctors advised her parents to turn off the youngster’s life support machine, a suggestion her parents refused.


And Miss Phelan, who now works as a carer for the elderly, said: “I want to of course have babies of my own in the future and I agree that the limit of abortion at 24 weeks should be lowered like the Government have said to 20 or 22 weeks.”

Her comments follow a statement by David Cameron earlier this year which revealed that he was in favour of a reduction in the upper abortion limit to “20 or 22″ weeks.

Miss Phelan, who was about the size of a pencil at birth, added: “I still can’t believe it really, it’s hard to comprehend how small I was.

“When I show my friends they can’t believe it”.


And her mother Donna said: “She was the length of a pencil and I could get my wedding ring on her foot. We had a job getting her a pair of shoes small enough”.

She added: “No baby in the UK had been born that early and survived. I still look at her sometimes and think ‘she’s my miracle’.

“We hoped and prayed everything would be OK. We would never have turned the ventilator off.

“I think she’s done fantastically well. We are very proud of her.”


Earlier this month it was revealed that a baby girl born just after 23 weeks of pregnancy had become the youngest twin to be born prematurely and survive in Britain.

Amelia Hope Burden, who weighed just 1lb 2oz, was born days before the legal abortion limit when her mother was 23 weeks and 2 days into her pregnancy.

Her brother Arthur was born ten days later.


In April a baby boy in Italy was discovered to have survived for two days after a botched abortion at 22 weeks.

Press reports claimed the mother chose to abort the baby after a prenatal scan showed he had a cleft lip and palate.

He was wrapped in a sheet and left to die by staff at the Rossano Calabro hospital in Italy, but 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.

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