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Baby born at 24 weeks is the smallest ever to survive at Nebraska hospital

A baby boy from Nebraska, weighing less than a pound when he was born at 24 weeks and two days, has been discharged after 116 days in hospital.

John McClinton, nicknamed “Buddy” by his parents, was born weighing only 14.1 ounces. His parents had had one miscarriage prior to Buddy’s birth and were anxious when he stopped growing in the womb at around 20 weeks gestation and his mother’s blood pressure rapidly increased.

Buddy’s mum, Ashley, said “What went through my mind was Lord, I cannot lose another child. I cannot bury another baby’”.

Buddy was born with a hole in his heart, which doctors were able to sew shut, and he is expected to live a healthy life.

Staff at the hospital announced that Buddy was “the smallest baby born at the hospital to survive”.

Buddy was able to return home on oxygen in December

Ashley described the day of his discharge as “bittersweet”, saying “We have formed such close relationships with all of the people that took care of him for [these] 116 days. So it was a joyful day. But also, you know, a lot of tears, too”.

“We have dreamed of being parents for so long and we are so grateful. Buddy is doing so good!” Ashley added. “He’s very opinionated and most content being held, which we love. We are enjoying every minute with him”.

Ashley expressed her hope that her family’s story will help couples who have experienced miscarriages or preterm births to know they are not alone.

“I’ve had people from all over the country reach out who have micro preemies in the NICU who are sharing their stories with us”, she said. “We’re blessed to hear from them and honoured to cheer them on”.

Medical advancements have improved survival rates for premature babies significantly

At 24 weeks and two days, Buddy was born just over the UK abortion limit of 24 weeks. Originally set at 28 weeks, the abortion limit was lowered in 1990 to 24 weeks gestation because, given our then medical and technological abilities, this was the gestational age at which an unborn baby was considered viable. Since then, however, medical technology has advanced considerably and the survival rates for unborn babies who are born before the 24-week abortion limit have improved dramatically, and babies born below 24 weeks gestation are increasingly able to survive.

A study in 2022 found almost four out of five babies born prematurely between 22 and 28 weeks gestation survive to discharge from the hospital. It found that from 2013 to 2018, with infants born between 22 and 28 weeks gestation, “survival to discharge occurred in 78.3% and was significantly improved compared with a historical rate of 76.0% among infants born in 2008-2012”.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said “Buddy is a living example of how advanced our medical technology now is, that a baby born weighing just a pound can now survive and be discharged from hospital. Legislators in the UK should pay attention to these babies and change our abortion law, which continues to permit abortion up to 24 weeks gestation”.

Dear reader,

Thanks to your support, earlier this year the abortion lobby failed to pass two extreme abortion up to birth amendments tabled by Labour MPs Stella Creasy and Diana Johnson.

Unfortunately, this is not the end for our opposition. 

In the new Parliament, we will be facing major threats on not just one but three fronts: assisted suicide; experimentation on human embryos; and abortion up to birth:

  1. The first threat is from the assisted suicide lobby. The new Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer, has not only voted in favour of making assisted suicide legal in the past but also pledged ahead of the election that he would make time for MPs to vote on the introduction of assisted suicide. Now that he has been elected, we will be facing a big battle to stop assisted suicide from being legalised. To attempt to secure this law change, the assisted suicide lobby, led by the multi-million-pound outfit, Dignity in Dying, is expected to significantly ramp up their campaigning to put pressure on MPs to vote in support of introducing assisted suicide.
  2. The second threat is from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and their allies in biotech firms that undertake experimentation on the most vulnerable, precious and unique tiny babies - human embryos. These groups are running a major campaign to remove the 14-day limit from current legislation, so that scientists will be able to experiment on human embryos / unborn babies up to when they are 28 days or four weeks gestation. At around 22 days, the central nervous system begins to form and by 28 days, the heart has begun to beat, the brain has begun to develop and a baby’s eyes, ears and nose have started to emerge.
  3. The third threat is from the abortion lobby. Earlier this year the abortion lobby failed to pass two extreme abortion up to birth amendments that Labour MPs Stella Creasy and Diana Johnson tabled. The abortion lobby, led by BPAS and MSI Reproductive Choices (formerly Marie Stopes International), has made it clear that they will be working with pro-abortion MPs to try and force through major changes to our abortion laws that would allow abortion up to birth. A law change that allows abortion up to birth was passed in New Zealand in 2020 by the then Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern’s Government, and that country saw a 43% increase in late-term abortions in the same year. 

If these three major threats from our opposition are successful, thousands of lives will be lost.

This year we successfully ran our biggest campaign in 26 years to fight the abortion lobby’s abortion up to birth amendments. This has used a considerable amount of Right To Life UK's limited resources since our last appeal for donations from supporters last year.

To cover this gap and ensure we effectively defeat these proposals during the coming months, we are aiming to raise at least £100,000 by midnight on Sunday 14 July.

We are, therefore, appealing to you to please give as generously as you can. Every single donation, no matter how small, will go towards saving the lives of the unborn and many others.

By stopping these threats, YOU can save lives over this coming period.

Will you make a donation now to help protect vulnerable lives from these threats?