Youngest ever twins prompt call for lower abortion limit

Twins who were born under the abortion limit are evidence that Britain’s laws are “out of date”, a doctor and newspaper columnist has said.

Dr Max Pemberton highlighted the story of Imogen and Annabelle Weir, who each weighed less than 2lb at birth but are now home and doing well.

Dr Pemberton said the children show the “flaws in our abortion laws and the urgent need for them to be addressed”.


It is currently legal in Great Britain to abort children up to 24 weeks, or up to birth if it is believed that the baby will be born with a disability.

The Weir children were born at 23 weeks and four days and were reportedly the most premature twins ever recorded in Britain.

The columnist noted: “We are at the stage where, in the same hospital, doctors could be fighting to save a premature baby born at, say, 23 weeks, while a woman down the corridor is legally allowed to undergo a late-stage abortion on a foetus of the same gestation.”


Dr Pemberton explained that as medicine progresses so swiftly, there are likely to be even younger children who will survive soon.

And he said that the law – passed in the 1960s – is “illogical”.

He noted that even though the number of abortions after 20 weeks was lower than before 13 weeks, the figure is in the thousands.

“We need legislation that can respond to improved survival for premature babies”, he said.


Last month the story of Imogen and Annabelle was widely reported.

Mother Claire Weir shared how she and her husband James did not “have a lot of hope” that the twins would survive after their early birth.

“I’d never heard of twins so small surviving. It didn’t seem possible for one, let alone two”, she said.


The twins were in an “extremely fragile state” and attached to incubators to help them with breathing. They remained in hospital for four months after being born.

But almost a year later, the twins are back home and doing well.

Claire said: “The consultant told us that if the girls had been born just two years ago they wouldn’t have survived – that’s how fast medical technology is advancing.”

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