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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tiny baby, big decisions

There's an article in the Guardian online today about tiny baby Amellia who was born by cesarean at 22 weeks (making her about 17-18 weeks premature).

I expect her survival to have a big impact on abortion laws, both here and in the USA, because she lived despite being under the age considered 'viable' in the USA (23 weeks), and under the 24 weeks abortion limit in the UK.

It's brilliant news that this baby survived, and I can understand why a desperate mother would lie to doctors about her baby's age. However it is concerning that this may have a detrimental impact of a woman's right to abortion if she past 22 weeks. I can imagine the question will be 'if babies can be kept alive by medicine after 22 weeks then should the age of viability be lowered?'

Comments in the article from another mother who's premature baby survived via medical intervention suggests that each case should be considered individually, rather than a 'catch all' rule being enforced. I hope if this is adopted for premature babies that they see fit to give women who choose not to have children the same respect and considered their cases individually rather than applying a catch all rule after the normal cut off point for abortions.

Who would be a medical ethicist? Stressful much.

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