UK’s earliest twin born under abortion limit

A baby girl born just after 23 weeks of pregnancy has become the youngest twin to be born prematurely and survive in Britain, according to the Daily Mail.

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, and the twins case is likely to fuel calls for a reduction in the upper abortion limit which currently stands at 24 weeks.


Amanda Staplehurst, the twins’ mother, gave birth at the end of last month, but tragically when Amelia Hope was born the youngster appeared to show no sign of life.

However the doctors, who were under no legal obligation to revive the child, successfully fought for her life.

Describing the experience Miss Staplehurst, who is engaged to be married, said: “I went to my local hospital as a precaution as I had cramping pains but as it was early in my pregnancy I just thought I had a stomach bug.”


She added: “Seeing Amelia Hope whisked away by medical staff was incredibly traumatic. After all, she was born before the abortion limit and appeared to be dead.

“But thank goodness, despite this, doctors decided to revive her.”

Both of the babies are now being cared for in side-by-side incubators.


Miss Staplehurst added: “The pair of them seem to stretch together. Nurses have said hopefully in the next couple of weeks they can share an incubator for a few hours a day.

“That way they can cuddle up to one another as they did in the womb.”

The current law allows abortions to be carried out until 24 weeks of pregnancy, or until birth if the child will suffer from a severe disability.


Earlier this year David Cameron indicated that he favoured a reduction in the abortion limit to “20 or 22” weeks in light of technical and scientific advances.

But Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, has previously voted against any such reduction.

The previous record for surviving premature twins in the UK was 24 weeks.


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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