Baby boy born alive after failed abortion dies in mother’s arms

A grieving mother has relived the harrowing moment she went into hospital for an abortion but instead gave birth to a live, crying, baby boy who died in her arms.

Doctors diagnosed Sofia Khan’s son with spina bifida during a routine ultrasound scan 20 weeks into the pregnancy. 

Even after the diagnosis, Sofia was determined to choose life for her baby. Recalling the moment, she told the Sun: “I was devastated. I kept thinking that we would manage and that he could have surgery to help him.” 

However, doctors put immense pressure on Sofia and her husband to abort the baby claiming the baby boy’s spina bifida was the worst case they’d ever come across. They told Sofia to have an abortion saying it was unlikely her son would survive the pregnancy.  

Heartbroken, and following much discussion, the couple decided they would listen to the doctors’ advice. Sofia said: “We were heartbroken, but we made the decision to terminate. We felt it was best for the baby but even so I had moments of doubt and guilt.”

At 25 weeks pregnant Sofia travelled to St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester to terminate the pregnancy.

During the procedure, a lethal injection was administered to the umbilical cord with the intention of stopping the baby’s heartbeat. Sofia was then transferred to her local hospital, in Bolton, where she underwent an induced labour with no choice but to deliver what she expected to be her dead baby.

Following the injection, doctors carried out two scans to ensure there was no heartbeat and confirmed to Sofia that her son was dead.

Sofia said: “It was a relief to know his suffering was over but heart-breaking that he was gone.”

But, before the procedure she felt her son move. She alerted midwives but had her concerns dismissed as they assumed the injection in the other hospital had killed Sofia’s baby.

Sofia said: “As I waited, I felt the baby kick. I told the midwife but she said it was impossible. I asked her to put the monitor on to be sure but she said there was no need.”

Ten hours later, she gave birth and was stunned to hear her baby son crying.

She says: “I thought I was going mad. I thought I was hearing the cry because that’s what I wanted – my baby to be alive.

“The midwife went into shock. She was screaming for help, she ran with the baby into the corridor.

“They brought him back and said: ‘What do you want us to do?’ and I didn’t know what they meant. I held him and cuddled him and told him how much I loved him.

“He was such a fighter. He had a huge hole in his spine and he was very disabled, and yet he hung on to life for an hour.

“I can’t help thinking that he was determined to have one cuddle with his mummy.”

Sofia and her husband named their son Mohammed Rehman. They gave him a full funeral and he is buried near their home.

Shockingly, an internal investigation into the incident revealed that the assistant coroner had recorded the baby’s death as “by natural causes,” despite the intervention of a lethal injection and forced labour. 

Dr Philip Bullen told assistant coroner Simon Nelson: “I was extremely shocked to hear what had happened … I was stunned as the procedure had gone exactly how we like the procedure to go, very smoothly.”

Disturbingly, rather than ensure doctors do more to help babies who survive an abortion, guidelines have been changed to ensure doctors listen to heartbeats for longer post-abortion to ensure that they have ended the lives of babies before inducing labour. 

Asked if the hospital had apologised, Sofia added: “The hospital have offered their condolences to me but it doesn’t feel to me like they have actually apologised.

“I have been told it was very, very unfortunate and very rare and that in future women will be told that the procedure is not 100 percent effective…

“I do feel angry with the hospital. I feel angry that I wasn’t listened to.”

“I am still grieving. I think of him every day,” she added.

Estimates have predicted that 80 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with spina bifida, each year, are aborted.

However, pro-life campaigners are hopeful that now the surgery has been made routinely available on the NHS, the number of unborn babies terminated each year will fall.

A new study, conducted by researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health, has confirmed the long-term benefits of the surgery over those who had traditional corrective surgery after birth. 

Last week, a former nurse revealed how babies born alive in ‘failed’ abortions in the US are being left to die, something which could happen under the Conservative’s proposed extreme abortion framework for Northern Ireland.

Abortions for extra finger or club foot to be available up to birth in Northern Ireland

In just six weeks, abortion could be legalised up to birth in Northern Ireland for babies with an extra finger, club foot, or other surgically rectifiable conditions. 

The Conservative Government is currently considering a legal framework for abortion in Northern Ireland.

The current proposals go far beyond the existing law in England, Wales and Scotland – and the limited changes strictly necessary for the Government to comply with the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019.

Under one of the proposed options, abortion for disabilities would be available through to birth when “The fetus if born would suffer a severe impairment, including a mental or physical disability which is likely to significantly limit either the length or quality of the child’s life” (Section 2.3 – page 17). 

In England and Wales, wording that has appeared similarly restrictive (‘that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped’) has in practice allowed for abortion for disabilities including club foot.

Club foot (also called talipes) is a condition where one or both feet points down and inwards with the sole of the foot facing backwards.

Non-surgical corrective therapy for clubfoot is successful in 98% of patients and complete correction can be achieved in as little as 16 days.

However, research conducted by Eurocat, which was set up to register congenital abnormalities across 23 countries, found 157 babies with cleft lip and 205 babies with club foot were aborted in England and Wales between 2006 and 2010.

During that time, The Department of Health only recorded 14 cleft lip abortions and didn’t release any figures for club foot abortions, suggesting the number of abortions performed could be over ten times the figure being stated in official documentation each year.

The Government confirmed in a 2014 report that some disability abortions had been wrongly recorded.

Despite this, the Government continues to hide and obscure figures surrounding abortion.

Just last week, the Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Caroline Dineage refused to release statistics on the number of abortions which took place in England and Wales over the last decade following the diagnosis of club foot, hammer toe or tarsal coalition.

The question was asked by pro-life MP Fiona Bruce whose son, Sam, was born with club foot.

Speaking about his condition in 2014, Fiona told MPs: “When mothers and fathers hear the news about a child’s diagnosis with fetal disability, it is important that they are given information about the spectrum and about their options.

“We have seen changes in neonatal intensive care, palliative care, paediatric surgery, educational care and community support. Conditions that might previously have been grounds for abortion are now treatable, and attitudes towards people with disabilities have moved on greatly…

“My son had physiotherapy every day for the first year of his life. He wore a calliper in his early years and he had two operations, but now no one would ever know… It is hard to think that such a treatable disability could have deprived him of life, and he is far from alone.”

Sam is currently a DPhil (doctorate) candidate at St Cross College, Oxford having attained MPhil (masters) in Political Theory at Oxford in 2016.

In 2011, The Department of Health lost a six-year court battle to keep secret some details on abortion statistics.

Joanna Jepson, who herself was born with a jaw condition, challenged the Government after their refusal to publish in 2003, following outrage to the previous year’s figures which revealed the abortion of a baby at 28 weeks’ gestation simply for having a cleft lip.  

Recently, one mother shared how she was devastated when doctors asked if she wanted to terminate her pregnancy at 21 weeks after her unborn son was diagnosed with talipes, also known as club foot as well as kidney problems.

Taylor Barnes refused to have an abortion and gave birth to her son Presley in March last year. Since then he has undergone successful treatment for club foot and kidney problems and his mum is confident it will not hold him back.

Taylor told the Greenock Telegraph: “Steven Gerrard the Rangers manager and Liverpool legend was born with club feet so that has given me hope.

“I’m so proud of Presley and everything he has been through in these first weeks of his life.

“I can’t wait to see my baby boy kick his football and walk through the school gates.”

Lord Chancellor rejects Government review into assisted suicide law amid ‘grave concerns’

The Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC has confirmed the Government has “no plans” to introduce assisted suicide legislation. 

In a letter to Dr Gordon Macdonald, the CEO of anti-euthanasia group Care Not Killing, Mr Buckland said: “Personally, I have grave doubts about the ability of legislation to be watertight when it comes to the potential for abuse.”

He added: “My predecessor was… supportive of a call for evidence but no call was initiated before he left office, nor… does the Government currently have any plans to initiate a call for evidence. This remains my position.”

Activists have been attempting to introduce assisted suicide legislation to the UK through the courts and through parliament.

In November, the High Court rejected a judicial review of the current law on assisted suicide, with judges stating the court was “not an appropriate forum for the discussion of the sanctity of life”. The Court of Appeal rejected an attempt to challenge this decision last month.

Similarly, in 2018, the Court of Appeal ruled that Parliament was a “better forum” than the courts for determining the issue of legalising assisted suicide.

Parliament has consistently rejected attempts by the assisted suicide lobby to introduce assisted suicide, with 330 to 118 voting against introducing assisted suicide in 2015. 

Just last month, strong opposition from MPs resulted in the Government rejecting a call for review on assisted suicide, despite the best efforts from large pressure groups in favour of assisted suicide.

Assisted suicide pressure groups cite a poll that shows there is widespread support for legislation of assisted suicide, yet experts have heavily criticised the polling as deeply flawed. In fact, when asked questions that drill down into the merits of the debate, the percentage of those in support drops dramatically.

In addition to lobbying the Government and parliament, activists have been seeking to lobby medical bodies in the UK.

Not a single doctors group or major disability rights organisation in the UK supports changing the law, including the British Medical Association (BMA), the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Physicians, the British Geriatric Society and the Association for Palliative Medicine. 

The Royal College of Physicians dropped its long-standing opposition to assisted dying in favour of neutrality following a 2019 membership survey, despite continued opposition to assisted suicide being the most favoured position among those surveyed. The process used by the College is currently subject to a legal challenge. Meanwhile, the results of a recent poll by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) are due to be released later this month.

The BMA, which is currently opposed to assisted suicide, has launched its first ever survey on the issue. The poll will ask their 160,000 members for their views “on whether the BMA should adopt a neutral position with respect to a change in the law on assisted dying”. The results of the British Medical Association survey will be announced in July at the medical bodies Annual Representatives Meeting. 

Assisted suicide pressure group Dignity in Dying (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society), which spent over £1,600,000 last year, said in an email to supporters “that the poll is happening is a significant win” for their campaign. Meanwhile, a large group of palliative care doctors have written to The Times calling on the BMA to continue opposing the involvement of doctors and that assisted dying will not become a medical intervention in the UK.

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said: 

“Despite the best efforts of well-resourced assisted suicide activists, who continue to seek legislative change through lobbying the courts, medical bodies and parliament, there is currently no appetite for such laws from any group. 

“The concerns raised by a large number of MPs last month highlighted just a small number of the reasons why the Government should look away from assisted suicide and instead fund better hospice and palliative care. 

“Any legislative change could place many vulnerable people at risk of abuse and put pressure on those with terminal and chronic illnesses and on the disabled to end their lives prematurely.

“Evidence from Oregon demonstrates how a so-called ‘right to die’ may become the ‘duty to die’. Feelings of being a burden were cited in 55% of Oregon and 56% of Washington assisted-suicide requests in 2017.

“This is especially the case when families and health budgets are under financial pressure, which makes the Canadian study which found that the legalisation of assisted suicide could save the health care system more than $138 million per year so alarming.

“Legalising assisted suicide would inevitably lead to pressure on vulnerable people to choose the quicker, cheaper option of death over palliative care.”

Former nurse reveals babies born alive are left to die – could soon be reality for Northern Ireland

A former nurse has revealed how babies born alive in ‘failed’ abortions in the US are being left to die, something which could happen under the Conservative’s proposed extreme abortion framework for Northern Ireland.

Jill Stanek, now the National Campaign Chair to US-based pro-life charity Susan B. Anthony List, testified about her “traumatising experience” before the US Senate Judiciary Committee to make a case for passing the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

If passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate and signed into law by President Donald Trump, the Act would require healthcare professionals to give the same degree of care to babies who survive ‘failed’ abortions as they do to any other newborn.

Under the Conservative Government’s proposed framework for abortion in Northern Ireland such protections won’t be offered to babies who survive abortions there.

Jill described in graphic detail the procedure known as ‘labour-induced abortion’, stating that the goal of the procedure is simply “to cause a pregnant mother’s cervix to open so that she will prematurely deliver a baby who dies during the birth process or soon afterward…”

“Although some doctors kill babies before starting this procedure by injecting a medication or potassium chloride through her mother’s abdomen into the baby’s heart to cause instant cardiac arrest, many… don’t.

“In the event a baby was aborted alive, he or she received no medical assessments or care but was only given what my hospital called ‘comfort care.’”

Jill then shared her own experience from her time as a nurse at a hospital that committed abortions.

In a particularly horrifying episode, one mother “was not only shocked when her little boy was aborted alive, she was also shocked that he didn’t appear to have the external physical deformities she had been told he was going to have. The mother screamed for someone to help her baby, and my colleague rushed to call a neonatologist over from the unit.”

“The mother was so traumatised that my friend had to give her a tranquilizer,” she added. The baby died within half an hour.

Recounting the night a baby with Down’s syndrome who had survived an abortion and was left to die in the hospital’s soiled utility room she said:

“I could not bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone, so I rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived. He was 21 to 22 weeks old, weighed about half a pound, and was about the size of my hand.”

She added: “From what I observed, it was not uncommon for a live aborted baby to linger for an hour or two or even longer. One abortion survivor I was aware of lived for almost eight hours.”

The hospital Jill worked has previously admitted “between 10 percent and 20 percent” of ‘aborted’ babies “survive for short periods.”

Another night, while an abortion was taking place in one room, Jill recalled that she needed help with the delivery of a wanted full-term baby just a few doors down the hall.

However, when she asked for help, the nurse taking care of the aborting mother and aborted baby told her that she and a fellow nurse were “busy”.

Jill said: “I thought about how insane it was that there was no one to help me with my healthy delivery only because they were busy wrapping another baby they had caused to die.”

The debate will continue in both the US Senate and House of Representatives. However, in Northern Ireland no such debate will occur.

In the proposed framework, there is no mention of a legal requirement that babies born alive after an abortion are resuscitated or provided with medical assistance, despite the issue being more common than many people first think.

In 2008, a UK report found that 66 infants were born alive after NHS terminations in one year. The majority of those 66 babies took over an hour to die. 

In Victoria, Australia, where there is a similarly extreme abortion law, scores of babies were left to die after being removed alive during a number of ‘failed’ terminations, according to one official review

The review reported that in 2011 there were 40 ‘terminations of pregnancy’ after 20 weeks ‘resulting in live birth’. While these figures are comparable in scale, Victoria’s population of 5.5 million is just a tenth of Britain’s.

This shows the scale of this problem in an environment where there are very few legal safeguards around abortion.