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News of the Day ... In Perspective


British abortionists fear being charged with infanticide

A British government agency, the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health (CEMACH), is launching an investigation into reports that up to 50 babies a year are born alive after National Health Service abortion attempts.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is launching its own investigation. Its guidelines say that babies aborted after 21 weeks and six days of gestation should first have their hearts stopped with an injection of potassium chloride. Very few abortionists, however, are willing or able to do this.

For abortion earlier in pregnancy, labor is induced by drugs with the expectation that the infant will not survive the birth process. Guidelines say that doctors should ensure that the drugs they use prevent live births. But some “can be born breathing and crying at 19 weeks,” stated Stuart Campbell, former professor of obstetrics and gynecology at St. George’s Hospital, London.

The number of abortions carried out in the 18th week or later has increased from 5,166 in 1994 to 7,432 last year. This is possibly related to prenatal diagnosis of nonfatal conditions such as Down syndrome.

Although 70 to 80% of babies born in their 23rd or 24th week now survive long term, Britain allows abortion on demand up to 24 weeks, the highest legal limit in Europe. France and Germany permit “social abortions” only up to the 10th and 12th week, respectively.

“If a baby is born alive following a failed abortion and then dies (because of lack of care), you could potentially be charged with murder,” said Shantala Vadeyar, a consultant obstetrician at South Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust.

The issue will be highlighted by Gianna Jesson, 28, who survived an abortion attempt. She will speak at a Dec 6 parliamentary meeting organized by the Alive and Kicking campaign, which is lobbying to reduce the abortion limit to 18 weeks.

Ms. Jesson, a musician, is afflicted with cerebral palsy. She is to run in a London marathon to raise money for fellow sufferers (Sunday Times 11/27/05).

Additional information:

Perhaps 70% of Down syndrome babies aborted since 1989. “Quality or Death,” AAPS News, August 2005

Article on fetal pain provokes controversy, News of the Day 8/28/05

“Induced Abortion and Later Risk of Premature Births,” by Brent Rooney and Byron C. Calhoun, M.D., J Am Phys Surg, Summer 2003


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