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One of UK’s youngest COVID-19 patients, born 3 months early, celebrates first birthday

Theo Stobbs, born in Burnley, Lancashire at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic last April, turned one this week

Theo was born at 27 weeks and at 2lb 4oz weighed “less than a standard supermarket pineapple”. Images of him wearing a white nappy and a tiny woolly hat as he was lifted out of an incubator at just four weeks old went viral.

Theo’s mother, 34-year-old Kirsty said: “I was in complete shock, I never expected Theo to be born that early….My water just went suddenly”.

Two steroid injections were given to his mother within hours of  her waters breaking, allowing his lungs to mature a crucial amount prior to birth.

Theo struggled during the first nine weeks after birth, and underwent three blood transfusions to raise his oxygen levels. 

Kirsty said “I didn’t tell everyone Theo had been born; until he was on the front page of The Guardian”.

“A symbol of hope”

“When I hear that the picture of Theo is referred to as a ‘symbol of hope’ it fills my heart with joy…It was such a rubbish time for everyone, including us, but it got us through knowing that people were looking at us and finding some hope”.

Unfortunately, Kirsty tested positive for COVID-19 in October, and believes she passed it onto Theo via breastfeeding.

“I just went into complete meltdown, I couldn’t stop crying”.

“I just kept thinking about his lung condition and the fact that Covid attacks the lungs”.

“I just wanted someone to see him straight away and tell me he would be ok”.

Thankfully both Theo and his mother recovered from the virus.

Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said: “The heartwarming story of Theo’s survival after a difficult premature birth and a battle with COVID-19, reminds us that inside or outside the womb, life is precious and worth fighting for. Thankfully, even though Theo was born prematurely, he is surviving and thriving. However, other babies in the womb at the same gestation can have their lives ended by abortion up to the point of birth if diagnosed with a disability”.

“The survival rate for babies born prematurely is improving all the time, and the discrimination at the heart of our abortion law is impossible to ignore”.

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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