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Premature baby born with her intestines outside her body defies odds to survive

A baby born with her intestines outside of her body was able to go home after 110 days in hospital.

In October last year, baby Autumn Warner from Kamloops, Canada, was able to return home after almost four months in the hospital. She was born nine weeks early and delivered via an emergency caesarean section. She suffered from a rare disability called gastroschisis, which stops the abdominal wall from forming completely and kills up to 10 percent of affected babies.

Gastroschisis occurs when a child’s abdomen does not develop fully while in the womb. The incidence rate is low, with one in 3,000 babies born with the condition each year in the UK.

Despite doctors finding it more challenging to treat Autumn because she was born prematurely, they were able to feed her intestines back into her stomach during an intense operation.

110 days in hospital

Autumn’s mum, Holly Striloff, 33, and her partner Travis Warner, 32, found out Autumn had the condition in April 2021 when Holly was 18 weeks pregnant.

Her mum said: “I was shocked because it was not something I had ever really heard of before. At the time, it was incredibly overwhelming because we were just concerned for her safety”.

She was admitted to hospital on 2 July 2021 and gave birth at 31 weeks to Autumn — whose low birthweight made her gastroschisis even more difficult to treat.

Ms Striloff added: “There are a lot of complications that come with the condition, but she was also not growing and was in the third percentile”.

“It has been a chaotic and stressful journey and meant that neither of us really rested much with everything happening”.

After difficult surgery which lasted 12 days, and a long time for recovery, Autumn was able to leave the hospital on 23 October 2021.

Ms Striloff said: “I had been dreaming of the day for the whole time we were there, and it will now always be a really special day for us. It was 110 days of sleepless nights, mental exhaustion, trauma, defeat and tears”.

“Yet at the same time, it was 110 days of milestones met, love at first sight, excitement and pure joy”.

“She now weighs 8lbs 4oz and is happy and healthy thanks to the incredible care we received”.

In 2020, there were in England and Wales 21 abortions due to reports that mentioned  “malformations of the digestive system” as a reason for the abortion. It is possible some of these included abortion on the grounds that the baby suffered from the same condition as Autumn, gastroschisis.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “As often happens, this story shows how people born with disabilities can lead normal lives or close to normal lives despite their struggles. Even for those who cannot, they still have a life that is worth living and should be protected under the law from the lethal discrimination present in the current abortion law in England and Wales”.

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.