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Baby born alive dies days after mother took abortion pill at 30 weeks, doctors thought she was 12 weeks pregnant

A baby died in a hospital in Yorkshire after his mum took an abortion pill while she was 30 weeks pregnant.

An unnamed mother from East Yorkshire gave birth in a toilet at York Hospital after taking a medical abortion pill, apparently after being told her baby was at just 12 weeks gestation, when in fact, she was 30 weeks pregnant. 

After the mother unexpectedly gave birth having taken the abortion-inducing drug mifepristone, hospital staff realised that the baby was alive and did everything they could to resuscitate him. Named Ronnie by his parents, desperate attempts to save his life were made. However, Ronnie had multiple organ failure, and even after being placed on a ventilator, he died four days later.

Evidence was heard during a trial inquest into the baby’s death in Hull on Monday. It is not clear whether the scans to determine the gestation of the baby were performed badly or whether they were performed at all.

In the investigation into Ronnie’s death, independent medical practitioner Jacqui Evans found that “severe internal pressure” on staff at the hospital was part of the problem and concluded that, had the patient been referred earlier, it is likely the advanced pregnancy would have been identified.

Senior coroner Professor Paul Marks concluded: “Ronnie was born alive on October 26, 2021, after a legal termination of pregnancy by the internal use of drug mifepristone. He was deemed as being viable and was resuscitated and then treated at the Jessop Wing in Sheffield. Despite this, his condition deteriorated relentlessly”.

No scans in ‘DIY’ home abortion

Last month, MPs voted to make ‘DIY’ abortions a permanent feature of the law. This means that medical abortions (before 10 weeks) can now take place entirely outside of a clinical setting. If a woman wants a medical abortion, she need never see a medical professional in person nor have a scan to assess the gestation of her pregnancy.

The measure was initially introduced as part of the Government’s pandemic response in March 2020. However, between April 2020 and September 2021, more than 10,000 women had to receive hospital treatment following the use of medical abortion pills in England.

Based on data collected from 85 Freedom of Information requests to NHS Trusts across England, the study suggests that more than 1 in 17 women who had a medical abortion over the 18-month period needed hospital treatment.

In May 2020, police investigated the death of a baby after a mother took abortion pills while 28 weeks pregnant.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “This tragic story is an example of one of the many dangers of abortions in which gestational scans do not occur. This not only has tragic consequences for the baby but also can be extremely dangerous for the baby’s mother”.

Dear reader,

You may be surprised to learn that our 24-week abortion time limit is out of line with the majority of European Union countries, where the most common time limit for abortion on demand or on broad social grounds is 12 weeks gestation.

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of that same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

The majority of the British population support reducing the time limit. Polling has shown that 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below.

Please click the button below to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to do everything in his power to reduce the abortion time limit.