One in 30 aborted babies is born alive, British study finds


WASHINGTON — One in 30 babies aborted because of severe handicaps survives, according to a new study in Great Britain.

The aborted babies who were born alive died after an average of 80 minutes, but some lived for more than six hours, reported the Evening Standard, a British newspaper.

The report, based on a study of primarily chemical abortions at 20 West Midlands hospitals, caused a pro-life leader to question what the actual count would be if babies who do not have physical impairments are included.

"It begs the question of how many healthy babies must be surviving," said Julia Millington of Alive and Kicking, according to the Evening Standard. "It would suggest the true figure must be much higher.

"With live births after abortion occurring in 18 out of the 20 maternity units in the West Midlands alone, it is difficult to comprehend the numbers of babies around the country left fighting for their lives."

Most of the abortions involved in the research were performed using the abortion drug RU 486, according to the newspaper.

The study, which was published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, analyzed nearly 3,200 abortions performed between 1995 and 2004 on children with such impairments as Down syndrome and heart defects. The research found 102 of these babies were born alive.

Most of the children were born from 20 to 24 weeks into pregnancy, but some survived after only 17 weeks, the Evening Standard reported.

Though the report did not provide evidence any of the babies lived for more than several hours, a child born at 24 weeks into pregnancy in Norwich is still living after three years, according to the newspaper.

The West Midlands, which includes six counties, accounts for about 10 percent of the babies born in Great Britain each year.

RU 486, also known as mifepristone, is used as the first part in a two-step process. Mifepristone causes the lining of the uterus to release the embryonic child, causing his death. In mid-term abortions in Great Britain, a second drug, misoprostol, is given vaginally two days after mifepristone and causes the uterus to contract, expelling the baby.

Published, May 2007