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Baby born two weeks below abortion limit goes home after 4 months in hospital

A baby born at 22 weeks weighing only 500g has just gone home after four months in hospital.

Baby Sofia Viktoria Birina was due on the 1st February 2021, but instead was born in University Wishaw Hospital on the 2nd October 2020.

Her mother, Egija, said: “Everything was fine at the 20 week scan. Then just over a week later, I felt pain so I went into hospital and was told that I was already dilated and had to go into labour”.

“After 10 days’ bed rest our beloved daughter Sofia made an appearance”.

“Sofia was literally the size of a hand, so fragile and small and her skin was see-through. I had to wait a week to hold her for the first time because she was so fragile. Once I was able to hold her, they couldn’t get her out of my hands”.

During her time in hospital, Sofia has had to overcome a heart defect, stage one brain bleeds, an eye disease, retinopathy of prematurity and multiple infections.

She had seven blood transfusions and, being so premature, respiratory distress symptom as her lungs weren’t fully developed.

Baby born two weeks below abortion limit goes home after 4 months in hospital 2
When baby Sofia was born at 22-weeks she weighed just 500g (1.1lb) and could fit in her mother’s hand – Image credit: NHS LANARKSHIRE

Sofia was born at just 22 weeks and four days

Her mother continued: “I was at the hospital all the time. Some days as long as 16 hours, and my husband would come after work. I just didn’t want to leave her, especially on the many really tough days when we didn’t think Sofia would make it”.

“She was hooked up to lots of machines and she was ventilated for several weeks to help her breathe. First time they tried to get her to breathe on her own, she only lasted 20 minutes then her heart rate dropped and I felt like I was losing her – but the medical and nursing staff were great”.

Since then, Sofia has been slowly weaned off her ventilator and has gained sufficient weight and strength to go home.

“She’s now four months old and I look at her and think she could still be in my tummy because of how small she is, even though she is now four times her birth weight”.

Sofia was born at just 22 weeks and 4 days and is believed to be one of Scotland’s youngest surviving babies.

Baby born two weeks below abortion limit goes home after 4 months in hospital 3
Sofia’s parents are able to finally take baby Sofia home after four months in hospital – Image credit: NHS LANARKSHIRE

Late term abortion in Scotland

The abortion law in Scotland (and England and Wales) permits abortion up to the 24th week of gestation in most cases, and up to birth under certain conditions, such as if the child is disabled.

The latest abortion statistics in Scotland show that in 2019, 129 abortions were performed at 18 weeks’ gestation or over and in England and Wales, 3,323 abortions were performed at 20 weeks’ gestation or over. 

As the inspiring case of baby Sofia shows, babies are able to survive outside the womb from as early as 22 weeks’ gestation. Once she was born, she was entitled to full protection under the law, but at 22 weeks in the womb, she could still be aborted.

Baby born two weeks below abortion limit goes home after 4 months in hospital 4
Baby Sofia was in an incubator for three months – Image credit: NHS LANARKSHIRE

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “Advances in medical technology and the amazing work of our doctors and nurses are ensuring that premature babies are able to survive earlier and earlier”.

“Sofia’s very existence contrasts sharply with our abortion laws. At 22 weeks, Sofia would be offered the same protections under law as any other British citizen. Whilst she was still in the womb however, and whilst there are other babies in the womb at the same gestation and older, it would be perfectly lawful to have had an abortion. Surely this contradiction needs to end”. 

“Abortion at any stage of pregnancy is wrong, but the transparent contradiction at the heart of our abortion laws in terms of the basic rights we rightly grant to human life outside the womb but wrongly fail to provide to human life in the womb, is on clear display in these cases of premature births”.

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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Dear reader

In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, which included a provision that legalised abortion right up to birth for disabilties including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

A new Bill has been launched at the Northern Ireland assembly that will remove the current provision that allows abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’.

It is under these grounds in the regulations that babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.

Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2020, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not legal and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales. 

This contrasts with the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom where disability-selective abortion has been legal since 1967.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to take 30 seconds of your time and add your support to the campaign to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland: 
Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot:

If you live outside Northern Ireland: 
Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill:

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Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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