UK Telegraph 01 Feb 2008
The abortion debate is reignited today as figures show that survival rates of babies born very prematurely have doubled in the past 20 years. By the late 1990s 71 per cent of babies born between 22 and 25 weeks’ gestation survived. A study at one of Britain’s top neonatal units found that one third of babies born between 22 and 25 weeks’ gestation survived in the early 1980s but this had risen to 71 per cent by the late 1990s. The biggest improvements were among the 24 and 25-week babies.
Campaigners have already called for the 24-week abortion limit to be lowered, but experts have previously argued there has been little improvement in the chances of babies born very early. The findings are set to spark a further row over abortion as MPs are tabling amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill to either liberalise terminations or restrict them. The 24-week limit was set in 1990.