[by Dean Smith] Even admitting their recommendations could potentially impact the abortion debate, researchers are suggesting the medical community should re-look at the viability age of premature babies. Up to this point, it is generally accepted babies born as young as 24 weeks can survive outside the womb. However, a recent research project, reported in the New York Times, is now suggesting the age of viability should be reduced to 22 weeks because of growing evidence babies that young can survive, particularly with modern neonatal improvements.
[by Dean Smith] In her article, The First Ache, published in the New York Times in 2008, Annie Paul reveals how doctors have discovered preemie babies as young as 20 weeks and possibly earlier experience pain in the womb. In 1983, Kanwaljeet Anand was working for a neonatal intensive care unit at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England. Part of his job involved caring for premature infants who had just gone through surgery. He noticed when these babies returned from their operations, they had weak pulses, grey skin, shallow breathing and it took hours to get their vital signs stabilized.