One in Three Babies Born at 23 Weeks Now Survive
The number of babies in the UK who survive following premature birth at 23 weeks has increased to a record one in three, new official figures show. The success treating babies who would until recently have been considered unlikely to live led to demands for a reduction in the 24 week time limit set by British abortion laws. The 23-week survival rate in England and Wales was 23 per cent in 2010 and fell to 20 per cent in 2011, but has since risen steadily.
Now child mortality figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2014—the latest year for which data is available—33 per cent of babies born at 23 weeks reached their first birthday. The chances of life for babies born at 24 weeks—the legal limit for most abortions—have also risen fast. The ONS said 62 per cent born at this point in a pregnancy lived for at least a year. In 2010, just over half of babies born at 24 weeks reached their first birthday.
The new figures were hailed as a major success for medical staff and midwives and advances in technology and treatment. However, they come as the abortion lobby pushes for the removal of criminal sanctions against unlawful abortion, in effect abolishing the 24-week limit. Leaders of the pro-abortion Royal College of Midwives have called for decriminalisation, supporting a campaign by abortion providers such as the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and a Bill put before the House of Commons by Labour MP Diana Johnson.
But, hailing the latest figures, Fiona Bruce, Conservative MP for Congleton and chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, said they highlight “how shocking it is that our current law does not recognise the rights and immense value of a baby at that stage it its life”. “In the rest of Europe,” she added, “the term limit for abortions is generally around 12 weeks, apart from exceptional circumstances. So at 20 weeks, a baby in France or Germany has more rights than a baby in the UK. This is not right.”
In 2015, there were 185,824 abortions in England and Wales, with 3,700 of these involving babies 20 weeks or older.
The Daily Mail. April 21.