Daily Mail (UK) 20th April 2010
The number of babies born weighing only 2lbs has more than doubled in just two years, re-igniting the emotive debate over the abortion time limit. At the same time, the proportion of tiny babies stillborn has almost halved. Health service figures show that in 2008/09, some 3,836 children weighing under 2lbs3oz (1kg) were born in England and Wales. That is a 115 per cent rise on 2006/07.
The statistics do not reveal at what stage the babies were born. But a child weighing under 2lbs 3oz is likely to have been born at least three months early. They will inevitably include some born alive at an age when they could, in other circumstances, have been aborted.
More than 200,000 terminations are carried out each year, with the procedure available ‘on demand’ for non-medical reasons until the 24th week of pregnancy. But advances in medicine are increasingly allowing those born at, or close to, the cut-off point to survive, leading campaigners to demand a lower time limit.