30-week preborn baby killed when mother given abortion pill without scan from hospital

A baby boy died after his mother, who requested an abortion, was given abortion pills after the hospital failed to realise she was 30 weeks pregnant, an inquest has heard. The mother, from East Yorkshire, gave birth to her son in the toilet at York Hospital after taking the abortion pill believing she was 12 weeks pregnant.

The inquest heard she had opted for an abortion and was given the abortion pill to take, but the hospital failed to scan her to determine the baby’s gestational age. Her baby son was born alive.

An independent investigation into the harrowing case found that the staff had ‘too much to do’ owing to the high volume of patients at the time, meaning that they failed to identify that her baby was almost full term and viable.

In England, Scotland and Wales, abortion is legal up to 24 weeks gestation – but polling has indicated opposition to the current abortion laws. 60% of the general population and 70% of women believe that the current 24-week gestational limit for abortion should be reduced, according to Com Res polling, with premature babies born before the abortion limit surviving at an increasing rate. Abortion is also permitted further into the pregnancy in Britain if the unborn child has a disability, including Down’s syndrome and club foot.

The mother of the baby went for the treatment at York Hospital on 26th October 2021, but scans were either not carried out or were done incorrectly.

The distressing evidence was heard during an inquest in Hull on Monday into the baby’s death. No family were present and all the evidence heard was in written form.

The mother gave birth to the baby in a toilet at York Hospital after taking the drug mifepristone, which acts to block the hormone progesterone; a hormone necessary for the growth of the unborn baby. By inhibiting progesterone the placenta will detach from the uterus.

After the delivery of the baby, horrified staff realised he was alive and immediately tried to resuscitate him. Named Ronnie by his parents, the child was rushed to the Jessop Wing maternity unit in Sheffield where desperate attempts were made to save him.

However, he had suffered a number of problems from the abortion, including multiple organ failure, and was seriously unwell.

Ronnie was placed on a ventilator and received maximum life support care, despite battling for four days, sadly died four days later on 30th October.

A serious incident investigation was carried out by independent medical practitioner Jacqui Evans. She said staff had ‘too much to do’ and raised concerns about communication between staff due to ‘severe internal pressure’. She said that had the gestational age of the baby been identified, he would have been born and cared for at the hospital.

In normal circumstances a baby born at 31 weeks would have a 95 per cent chance of survival.

Senior coroner Professor Paul Marks said staff should be ‘commended’ for acting quickly to try and save the baby.

Prof Marks said that had the gestation of the baby boy been identified correctly and if he had been born in an appropriate setting, he would probably have survived.

Delivering a narrative conclusion into Ronnie’s death, he said:

“Ronnie was born alive on October 26, 2021, after a legal termination of pregnancy by the internal use of drug mifepristone.

“He was deemed as being viable and was resuscitated and then treated at the Jessop Wing in Sheffield. Despite this, his condition deteriorated relentlessly.”

The conclusion confirmed that baby Ronnie died at the Jessop Wing, predominantly due to brain damage.

In 2020, Gript reported that Irish babies are being born alive and left to die after abortions. Harrowing evidence came from a peer-reviewed study of doctors performing late-term abortions in Ireland conducted by three University College Cork academics. It was published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and can be viewed here.

In 2018, Irish politicians dismissed a motion to give life-saving treatment to babies born alive after abortions.

The legislation passed that year, and currently in effect, allows abortion right up until birth on babies with severe disabilities which mean they are likely (not certain) to die within 28 days following birth.

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