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Shetland Island mum flown to hospital for emergency cesarean section

A woman from the Shetland Islands has spoken about her experience of being rushed to hospital in Aberdeen by plane to have her baby over two months early.

Andy Thomson is now a happy, healthy three-year-old living with his parents on the Shetland Islands, north of the Scottish mainland. But things almost did not turn out that way when his mother was rushed to hospital at 31 weeks gestation.

In 2017, after routine checks from her midwife, Ann was rushed to hospital. However, Unst on the Shetland Islands did not have the facilities to deal with such a potentially premature birth so she had to be flown to Aberdeen. Her initial flight on Saturday morning was delayed and then cancelled altogether.

Luckily, Ann and her husband Drew managed to make it to the hospital in Aberdeen by the same evening.

“Be prepared”

“When we got back to the ward they put on the monitor and right away they could see that baby’s heartbeat was dropping”, she said.

Ann said they were then told to “be prepared”.

By 11 pm, Ann and her husband were told that it would be safer if the baby were delivered that very evening. And just over an hour later, after an emergency cesarean section, Andy was born and taken straight to intensive care.

Despite the intensity of what had just happened, Ann was reassured to hear her baby crying. “It was very quick”, she said. “But I knew that he was breathing, he was alive and he was okay. He was in the best hands”.

Andy’s parents were only able to meet him properly the next day following recovery. Ann praised the “amazing support” given by the medical team in Aberdeen.

“I’m still in contact with a lot of the nurses and some of the mams”, she said.

Babies can be aborted up to birth if they are disabled

It is becoming more and more common for babies born before the abortion limit in Britain to survive. However, under the abortion law in the UK, if Andy was disabled, it would have been lawful to end his life by abortion not only at 31 weeks gestation, but right up until birth.

Last month, Northern Ireland MLA Paul Givan had his bill, which would limit abortion on the grounds of disability, pass its second reading. The Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill proposes removing the current grounds in the abortion regulations that were imposed on Northern Ireland by the British Government in 2020, which allow abortion for babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

It is not uncommon for such premature babies to have disabilities of one kind or another, but they can, and often do, go on to lead normal lives. In October last year, another severely premature baby was born in Scotland almost 2 weeks below the abortion limit. Sofia Viktoria Birina weighed only 500g, but by February this year she was healthy enough to be sent home with her parents.

Baby Andy and baby Sofia are not alone. A study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in October 2019, followed 2.56 million babies born in Sweden between 1973 and 1997, around six percent of whom were born prematurely.

Researchers compared the health data of the premature babies to those that had been born at full term. They found that 55% of premature babies had no serious chronic, physical, or mental health issues by early adulthood. This is compared to 63% for babies born at full term.

Additionally, with each passing decade, the odds of survival for a premature baby to adulthood have improved from about 91% of babies born in the 1970s to about 96% of those born in the 1990s.
Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said: “Whilst baby Andy is happy and healthy, there were 3,183 disability-selective abortions in 2019. Many of these could have taken place at 31 weeks, the gestation at which Andy was born, or even later. This invidious discrimination has to change”.

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

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Dear reader

Thanks to the support from people like you, last year a major attempt to hijack the UK Government’s flagship Domestic Abuse Bill with two extreme abortion proposals failed, in a major pro-life victory.

Unfortunately, this is not the end for our opposition.

We are currently facing major threats on five separate fronts:

  1. Pro-abortion MP Rupa Huq has brought forward an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to introduce a jail term of up to two years if a pro-lifer offers support or advice to a woman near an abortion clinic. This is a threat to unborn babies and to freedom of speech.
  2. The assisted suicide lobby has brought forward a bill to legalise assisted suicide, which was introduced to the House of Lords on 26 May.
  3. The Northern Ireland Secretary has given himself new powers to force expanded abortion services on Northern Ireland.
  4. The abortion lobby is further exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to attempt to make dangerous ‘DIY’ home abortions available permanently.
  5. The abortion lobby is expected to make another attempt to change abortion law to allow abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth.

If these major threats from our opposition are successful, it would be a disaster. Thousands of lives would be lost. 

Fighting both the abortion and assisted suicide lobbies over this period has already made a huge dent in Right To Life UK's limited resources.

To cover this gap and ensure we effectively defeat these proposals during this period, we must raise at least £200,000.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to please give as generously as you can. Every donation, no matter how small, will make a significant difference.

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

Will you make a special gift right now to help protect vulnerable lives from these threats?

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