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One in three babies born at 23 weeks survive

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The number of surviving babies born at 23 weeks has risen to a third, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.

The new figures have prompted fresh calls from MPs for the abortion limit, which is currently 24 weeks, to be reduced.

It comes as pro-abortion activists are calling for abortion on demand, most recently through Diana Johnson’s Bill to decriminalise abortion, and a £500,000 taxpayer-funded grant given to law professor Sally Sheldon, to write a book promoting the liberalisation of abortion law.

Survival rates increasing

New child mortality figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2010, 23% of babies born at 23 weeks survived. The figure fell to 20% in 2011, but since then the figure has risen steadily.

In 2014, the latest data available, a third of babies born at 23 weeks reached their first birthday.

The higher survival rates are due to developments in technology and treatment, as well as the expertise of medical staff and midwives.

But as the number of surviving premature babies rises, pro-abortion activists are calling for abortion on demand.

'This is not right'

Commenting on the figures, Fiona Bruce MP said they highlight "how shocking it is that our current law does not recognise the rights and immense value of a baby at that stage of its life".

She continued: "In the rest of Europe, the term limit for abortions is generally around 12 weeks, apart from exceptional circumstances. So at 20 weeks, a baby in France or Germany has more rights than a baby in the UK. This is not right.

"Medical care has advanced and the law needs to catch up. Increasingly, these children can survive and live lives as fulfilled and valuable as any of us, and they should be given the chance to do so."

'The public is behind a reduction in time limits'

In contrast to Fiona Bruce's emphasis on the value of the pre-born child, Labour MP Diana Johnson introduced a bill last month to decriminalise abortion. This would effectively allow for abortion up to birth for any reason.

But Labour MP Robert Flello said: "I think the public is behind a reduction in time limits and not abortion up to birth, which obviously is what decriminalisation would open the door to."

'We must align ourselves with God’s Word'

Christian Concern’s Camilla Olim has previously commented on Diana Johnson’s abortion bill.

She highlights that our society’s understanding of 'progress' is confused, and only a biblical worldview will promote the flourishing of all.

"Our nation's rejection of the Word of God is why our views on abortion are inconsistent and confused. Rather than our relentless desire for 'progress', we must realign ourselves with God's Word and His blueprint for living.

"True progress is moving towards a God-fearing society that understands, protects and promotes the intrinsic value of human life."

Related links: 
Calls to lower the abortion time limit because a third of babies born at 23 weeks now survive (Mail)
Camilla Olim: Abortion and the politics of progress