Born at just 21 weeks, one of the world’s youngest surviving premature babies now flourishing

A premature baby boy born at just 21 weeks and weighing just 13oz (0.37kg) is now flourishing and has been allowed to go home with his mother and father.

Born on 20 December, smaller than the size of an adult’s hand, Jemarius Jachin Harbor Jr is believed to be one of the youngest surviving premature babies in the world.

Jemarius’ mother, Jessica McPherson, has a history of premature labour and has previously lost two premature babies at 22 weeks. When Jessica went into labour at just 21 weeks she and her fiancé, Jemarius Harbor Sr, remember asking doctors to try and save Jemarius’s life, despite the odds.

“I just want you to try as long as you try that’s all that matters to me, don’t just up and say that you can’t do it. Just ‘cause you haven’t done it doesn’t mean it can’t be done,” Jessica told Fox 5 News.

Gina Phillips, Director of Medical Services at Pregnancy Aid Clinics, told the news channel at the time that Jemarius’ survival “would be [nothing] short of a miracle”, and put his survival chances at just four percent.

However, the little fighter battled on and is now believed to be the youngest surviving premature baby at Emory Decatur Hospital in Georgia, US.

The survival rate for extremely premature babies has doubled over the past decade, prompting the creation of new guidance allowing doctors to try to save babies born as early as 22 weeks into a pregnancy.

In 2008 only two out of ten babies born alive at 23 weeks went on to survive. Today it is four out of ten, according to the British Association of Perinatal Medicine.

Once you pass 22 weeks, the chances of survival increase week-by-week due to technical advances, better healthcare planning and the increased use of steroids.

The increased survival rates have prompted calls to review the current law in order to help lower abortion numbers and save the lives of babies.

A spokesperson for Right to Life UK Catherine Robinson said:

“This is something that Parliament should urgently revisit. It has been over a decade since time limits were last debated fully in Parliament, in 2008.

“There is a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive before 24 weeks whilst in another room a doctor could perform an abortion which would end the life of a baby at the same age. Surely this contradiction needs to end.

“Independent polling from Savanta ComRes shows that 70% of women in the UK want to see the time limit for abortion reduced to 20 weeks or below. Our current abortion time limit is way out of line with the rest of Europe where the most common abortion time limit is 12 weeks.

“This change in guidance adds further evidence to the need for Parliament to urgently review our current abortion time limit. We support any change in law that would help lower abortion numbers and save the lives of babies in the womb. 

“It’s time that our laws were brought into line with public opinion, modern science and the rest of Europe.”

Abortion lobby plan to hijack Domestic Abuse Bill with extreme amendment

The abortion lobby has announced plans to hijack the Domestic Abuse Bill with a radical amendment that could leave England & Wales with Europe’s most extreme legislation.

In an email to supporters, yesterday, the UK’s largest abortion provider, BPAS, revealed their intention to ‘decriminalise’ abortion by repealing sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Persons Act. 

As the Abortion Act was passed to create exceptions to sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Persons Act and Infant Life Preservation Act, a repeal of sections 58 and 59 of the OAPA would effectively result in the majority of the Abortion Act becoming moot. 

Repealing these provisions would introduce abortion on demand, for any reason, up to 28 weeks to England and Wales. There would be no abortion law up to 28-weeks.

This would not only leave England and Wales with the most extreme abortion law in Europe, but also allow for sex-selective abortions to take place up to 28 weeks. 

Canada has been described as a “haven” for sex-selective terminations, which often single out baby girls due to a preference among certain parents and some cultures for having sons, due to the country’s permissive abortion laws.

Despite the current law, there is also evidence of this practice in the UK and it is possible that a form of ‘abortion tourism’ could arise from countries which protect unborn babies from sex-selective abortions. 

Contrary to BPAS’ claims, and the aims of the Domestic Abuse Bill, the abortion lobby’s extreme amendment would likely result in a far greater number of women being coerced or forced into an unwanted abortion. 

If this extreme amendment were to pass, there would be no legal restrictions on places where abortions could be performed. This would make the Government’s temporary measure, allowing the prescription and sale of ‘DIY’ home abortion pills online, a permanent law change. 

Since ‘DIY’ home abortions were introduced on 30 March, a number of significant problems have arisen.

In May, it was revealed UK police were investigating the death of an unborn baby after its mother took ‘DIY’ home abortion pills while 28 weeks pregnant.

In addition, it was revealed a further eight cases of women taking ‘DIY’ home abortion pills beyond the 10-week limit were being investigated.

A number of women have also come forward to share the serious problems they’ve experienced after taking ‘DIY’ home abortion pills.

Additionally, in a legal challenge against ‘DIY’ home abortion pills, Dr Gregory Gardner, a longstanding GP and honorary clinical lecturer at the University of Birmingham, has revealed how a change in law opens women up to abuse and coerced abortion.

He said: “It will be difficult if not impossible to verify by phone or video whether a woman is undergoing any kind of duress to have an abortion. There does not seem to have been any consideration given to this in the proposed change in policy. There will be women who need delicate counselling to discover coercion or other forms of abuse.”

In addition, a number of other safeguards protecting both women and unborn babies would be removed from the current law. 

There would be no legal requirement that two doctors must certify an abortion and doctors would no longer be required to participate in an abortion procedure. Instead, healthcare assistants, nurses, and pharmacists could carry out abortions without a trained doctor present in the case of a complication. 

The extreme proposals being put forward by BPAS and the abortion lobby are completely out of line with where women stand on the issue. 

Recent polling, conducted by Savanta ComRes, on whether time limits for abortion should be increased showed that only 1% of women wanted the time limit to be extended. In contrast 70% of women favoured a reduction in time limits.  

Furthermore, a poll from March 2014, showed that 94% of women agreed that a woman requesting an abortion should always be seen in person by a qualified doctor. This current requirement in law would be removed under the abortion lobby’s plans. 

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said: “It is highly inappropriate for the abortion lobby to hijack the Domestic Abuse Bill in a way that not only undermines its support for victims of domestic abuse and their families but could also result in women and their babies facing more harm. 

“Polling shows that this extreme proposal is not supported by women, with only 1% of women wanting the abortion time limit to be increased beyond 24-weeks.

“MPs should reject this extreme amendment and commit to bringing forward sensible legislation with increased support for women with unplanned pregnancies. This would ensure we were working together as a society to reduce the tragic number of abortions that happen each year.”