Babies that could fit in a coffee cup are increasingly surviving. Do 'micropreemies' change the abortion debate?

Medical advances are helping premature babies survive at ages that would have doomed them a few decades ago. What does it take for a 'micropreemie' to survive, and what effect are these tiny babies having on the abortion debate?

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  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    May 20, 2019 8:38 a.m.

    Don't even got to read the article.

    "Do 'micropreemies' change the abortion debate?"
    Nope. The "debate" was never about science or viability. It has always been about control.

    So no. It doesn't change it at all.

  • SethStewart Provo, UT
    May 20, 2019 7:47 a.m.

    There never was any real debate. There are people who are honest and there are those who are dishonest. All people know that the act of procreation invites children into the world. Denying that invitation after it has been made, even if it was made recklessly, is taking another human life. It is murder. Any of us who give into the devilish argument about when or under what conditions a fetus or embryo "becomes" human is spitting in the face of what we know and is protecting irresponsibility and murder.
    The choice to conceive was already made. Now the couple is obligated to care for the child and to follow through on their commitment to host and foster life. This is one great reason why conception ought to occur within a covenant relationship of marriage. There is no substitute for covenants of fidelity; every child deserves to be born into an intact, committed and lawful relationship--a family. None deserves to die, no matter when.

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    May 20, 2019 7:38 a.m.

    @Lilly Munster: "There are at least eleven medical conditions that will kill a woman if she continues a pregnancy."

    Virtually all anti-abortion laws allow an exception for the life of the mother.

    "The false notion of claiming that most abortions happen because the woman is too selfish to continue the pregnancy, is what the anti-choice advocates repeat and propagate."

    Actually, the Guttmacher Institute, which keeps track of abortion statistics, reports that 78% of all abortion are performed for the **self reported reason** of "convenience of the mother."

    "Only women have the right to make the private and personal decision to save her own life."

    Yes. If it really is a decision about the life of the mother. But not if it is "mere inconvenience of the mother."

  • SLC345 SLC, UT
    May 20, 2019 7:33 a.m.

    What I would like added to this article are cost details. How many families can afford $100,000 - millions of dollars for care? How do they do it and what impact does that have on their lives? Most of the people making comments reject helping families with food stamps, school lunches, housing etc. The average family would have a difficult time financially. How did these families accomplish this without going bankrupt?

  • hbeckett Colfax, CA
    May 19, 2019 3:00 p.m.

    I do believe that years ago someone/nation weighed a person who was dying and it was determined that the spirit of a person weighed a certain amount so one could then surmise that
    any growing life form was real and should have the chance to experience life on this earth whether or not that you believe in heavenly father or not I do and I believe life is for living I am not afraid of dying because I have had a wonderful living experience sure I have pains and such
    I would not have wanted to be denied this existence so let all fetus enjoy the same privilege that girl in the article that is nine years old appears to have a wonderful life awaiting her so let everyone have the same choice then later on she could choose to terminate her existence or keep going on in search of their dreams

  • Golden Rules Okay, OK
    May 19, 2019 1:56 p.m.

    This does make the issue more complicated. How can we as a society force a woman to carry a baby if the life of the baby does not require it. The costs and benefits to each individual (the baby and the mother) would have to be examined more closely if the baby's life does not have to be terminated if removed from the mother's womb.

    So after 26 weeks, the argument that the baby's life justifies taking away the choices of the mother is no longer in play.

  • Golden Rules Okay, OK
    May 19, 2019 1:39 p.m.

    What does this have to do with abortion? Does someone want to require women to carry a fetus until it can be removed and kept alive outside the womb?

  • Justinstitches American Fork, UT
    May 19, 2019 12:05 p.m.

    My feelings about treating micropreemies are mixed, to put it mildly. Having worked as a respiratory therapist in a NICU (1986 to 1993) off and on, I began to feel that what was being done to these tiny babies amounted to torture. Most of the survivors ended up with a life time of serious health problems. Treatment has changed significantly since then, but I still wonder about with the micros.

    Yet, I also felt like we needed to give them a chance to survive. They are, after all, fellow human beings who have families who love them. Some of those babies are real fighters, too.

    I strongly feel that babies in utero should be allowed the chance to live. I do make allowances for rape and incest because the woman (or child) had no choice in getting pregnant. I am rather reluctant on that since the baby is innocent, but also because a close high school friend was the product of a rape and he is a wonderful man, loved by his family. I have absolutely no issues with an abortion to protect the mother’s life and good health.

    I personally feel that except for the reasons above, abortion shouldn’t be allowed after the 1st trimester.

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    May 19, 2019 11:18 a.m.

    I was born in 1955 at barely 26 weeks, weighing 2 lbs. 3 oz. And I’m still here. Zero lung problems, just bad eyes. Glad to be here.

  • Lilly Munster , 00
    May 17, 2019 10:22 p.m.

    This LDS family of three doctors and four R.Ns ask you to consider some medical facts: There are at least eleven medical conditions that will kill a woman if she continues a pregnancy. Many of those life or death complications are NOT evident until after the second trimester. In most of those situations, both the mother and the unborn fetus will die, often in a horrible spiral of complications.
    No one has the right to compel this woman to die under these tragic conditions, leaving a husband, parents and her children to face life without her loving care.
    The false notion of claiming that most abortions happen because the woman is too selfish to continue the pregnancy, is what the anti-choice advocates repeat and propagate.
    The entire Medical Community, LDS professionals included, can tell you that that is fact-less and over-simplistic.
    As the contributing LDS M. D. has stated, there are thousands of infants condemned to lifetime coma and life support because an abortion was not performed. Millions of women have died because they were shamed into risking their own lives.
    Only women have the right to make the private and personal decision to save her own life.

  • PLM Kaysville, UT
    May 17, 2019 12:41 p.m.

    It remains that the argument for supporting life rests on the Mother’s outlook. Whether she fights to keep a baby alive or fights to put it in the ground determines a child’s future and right to remain alive? I pity the millions of innocents who were denied their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness because they were deemed an inconvenience by their mothers, especially those who are now celebrities and shouting their abortion stories. What happened to women who would sacrifice their life to save their beloved babies? I’m ashamed of the decline of affection among my gender; its a dark and immoral time we live in.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    May 17, 2019 12:25 p.m.

    Plus at the moment only 1.3% of abortions are after 21 weeks and many of those are the fetus developing a fatal condition (i.e. it'd have a short painful life if it even makes it to birth) or life of the mother issues. This argument suggested here really does not cover many abortions at all. You'd make way more progress in reducing abortions by trying to reduce unplanned pregnancies from occurring in the first place.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    May 17, 2019 12:21 p.m.

    So the argument is that people who want to end their unwanted pregnancy should be forced to keep it on the offchance that it's born super early and becomes bankruptcy inducing for that family due to medical expenses? How about we make abortion actually reasonable to obtain in a timely fashion and only then consider speeding things up, rather than trying to make it as difficult as possible and then shorten the available time as much as possible, because at that point you really aren't being subtle, you just want to ban it as much as possible.

    May 17, 2019 11:53 a.m.

    It seems to me that there are getting to be so many ways for some people to decide who lives and who dies and sometimes that is valid. That is God's call, folks, for the innocent. Lets not pretend to know what is best for someone else. And if they have to be on life support so be it and using statistics to help decide is really not valid enough. We are supporting half the world now in one way or another. Let's give babies a chance.!

  • Nuschler121 Villa Rica, GA
    May 17, 2019 8:10 a.m.

    As an MD I know from reading current peer review medical journals and having parents with these babies the majority of preterm babies born at 24-27 weeks are FAR from normal!

    Many infants are unable to ever live on their own. They have undeveloped lungs as they were getting oxygen through the umbilical cord so didn’t need to breathe on their own...good thing as they would have drowned in the amniotic fluid that surrounds them in the uterus.

    At birth of a full term baby at 37+ weeks, the baby’s heart and lungs undergo a tremendous change, now allowing blood flow to the lungs and closure of openings in the heart...all needed for babies to breathe on their own. It’s an amazing change of blood flow in the baby.

    ALL preterm infants must be on ventilators to even breathe. Some never come off. We have “warehouses” of babies on ventilators who never reached consciousness and will NEVER breathe on their own. The finest Newborn ICU is no real substitute for mom’s womb. These “care units” are awful.

    We have reached a point of being so “successful” at placing humans on ventilators; they NEVER come off. Rows of “forgotten” unconscious beings

    Including “babies” that will never grow up.

  • countryvoice3 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 17, 2019 7:56 a.m.

    "I think it absolutely changes the debate--as it exposes that life began much earlier than many have claimed. "

    So 1reader, the current point of viability is 26 weeks generally. The article says no fetus lives when born at 22 weeks or earlier, and only half live that are born between 22 and 24 weeks, with well over half of them being significantly damaged, and a fetus born at 25 weeks has about a 90% chance of survival.

    Can you explain how those facts support your claim that life begins "much" earlier than many have claimed?

  • Common sense conservative Herriman, UT
    May 17, 2019 7:31 a.m.

    Even a full term new born is not viable on its own. It is completely dependent on others for life sustaining food and warmth. So if that support comes via nursing, bottles and blankets, killing the baby is murder. But if that same life sustaining support comes via the umbilical cord and the womb then killing it is ok? That makes zero sense.

  • David Centerville, UT
    May 16, 2019 11:25 p.m.

    Brave Sir Robin,

    Conservatives respect life, and also respect personal responsibility and accountability. Democrats want to control every aspect of life (cradle to grave), remove all responsibility and accountability, and make everyone dependent upon them (government). Sounds eerily familiar....

  • David Centerville, UT
    May 16, 2019 11:17 p.m.


    You make a good point. But it is highly unlikely that a person on life support following a violent event will regain function. A fetus, however, is mostly assured that with time (just a few months) will absolutely have extra-uterine function. It is not, however, just potential for life we speak of. It is life in and of itself.

    The mother's DNA is totally different from the infant's DNA--the mother should rarely have the power to terminate that life growing inside her. Here's another difference to your scenario--medical science uses machinery and the medical sciences to sustain the "brain dead" vegetative life. In the womb, however, the creation of God, the way He intended it, sustains the life of the fetus/infant. You may not believe in God, but that does not negate the billions who do, nor does it assign God to irrelevance. Democrats have now voted to be able to terminate life moments before a fully developed baby leaves the birth canal, and even allow a botched abortive attempt that left the infant alive outside the womb to die due to medical and parental neglect.

    We think we can play God with life and not be accountable.

  • Herbert Gravy Salinas, CA
    May 16, 2019 9:33 p.m.


    That's right. "Paint" ALL conservatives with the same liberal brush.


  • 1Reader Alpine, UT
    May 16, 2019 9:23 p.m.

    I think it absolutely changes the debate--as it exposes that life began much earlier than many have claimed. With that, abortion standards should be updated to be well more conservative and humane.

  • MC Squared Plano, TX
    May 16, 2019 7:32 p.m.

    My son Kyle was born at 26 weeks - 1lb16oz/13in long - a micropremie indeed and certainly a life that should be considered pursuant viability and technology of the times. He is considered a pioneer in micropremie neonatal development through various research and synthetic intervention.

    Kyle is now 27 years old - in good health (both physical, mental and intellectual) - so considering how the current state of technological and medical resources must have progressed over the past 27 years later - naysayers as to viability today know not what they are talking about.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    May 16, 2019 6:56 p.m.

    Only a conservative could:
    - Want to take away children's healthcare.
    - Support proliferation of guns.
    - Refuse to vaccinate their children.
    - Not want to do anything about pollution.
    And still consider themselves to be "pro life".

  • countryvoice3 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 16, 2019 6:55 p.m.

    "These medical advances demonstrate that "viability" is a made up term"

    "Because viability is now occurring significantly sooner"

    Wong on both the article. The major study in the article says all fetuses born before 22 weeks died. Of those born after 22 and before 26 only 65% survived and nearly half of them had severe abnormalities.

    The article also clearly says medical advances to keep fetuses alive prior to the 26 week mark are centered around an artificial womb. What does that tell you?

    Make all the moral arguments you want about abortion but you are dead wrong with your semantic game playing trying to convince us that the difference between 24 and 26 is significant all the while passing legislation that bans abortions at 8 weeks.

  • 871256 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 16, 2019 6:31 p.m.

    “When we’re talking about abortion, we’re talking about a whole other issue, and when people conflate things and say ‘That’s why we’ve got to have a heartbeat bill,’ we aren’t talking about anything that is even in the same stratosphere,” she said. “I’m sorry, but this is just foolishness.”

    This comment by PP makes NO SENSE. These issues are in the same stratosphere; they both involve the same living baby.

  • n8ive american Shelley, Idaho
    May 16, 2019 5:17 p.m.

    How about we subsidize adoption instead of abortion? It costs $40k+ to adopt yet only $950 to abort. Cut the glut and make adoption more attainable.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    May 16, 2019 5:02 p.m.

    These medical advances demonstrate that "viability" is a made up term, just like trimester was. In Japan, unburdened by Roe's legal and logical gymnastics of trimesters, pregnancies are not 9 months, but 10 since 40 weeks is 10 months at 4 weeks per month.

    A person who is brain dead is not coming back no matter how long we keep them on life support.

    In contrast, a developing baby is moving toward ever greater independence. This starts with a unique DNA, developing its own blood supply and circulatory system, then its own nervous system maturing to voluntary movements and measurable brain activity. In the normal course of events, a baby is born and no long depends on her mother's uterus, but was wholly dependent on mom's milk supply and other physical care. It takes many years of post-birth development before human children are prepared to care fo themselves.

    What these ultra-premature babies should do is force us all to recognize the humanity and life of the preborn. Once recognized, we can properly weigh that in balance with the rights, needs, and wants of the mother and perhaps even father. But let's stop ignoring or denying the baby's humanity.

  • Angelsings Glendale, AZ
    May 16, 2019 4:58 p.m.

    Wow ! This was a tremendous amount of statistical, medical, ethical & legal information to assimilate. Despite any & every thing, I am opposed to abortion at any stage & for any reason(s). Period. And, please spare me, I know all the arguments & theories. Interestingly enough, Norma McCorvey, the woman Roe v Wade is centered upon, never had an abortion.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    May 16, 2019 4:42 p.m.

    "Abortion-rights supporters ... say that infants aren't really viable earlier now than they used to be; it's just that physicians are more often able to keep them alive until they are."

    What? While I disagree with abortion advocates, I can sympathize with many of their viewpoints and arguments. However, this one seems ridiculous to me. To say that a baby that survived wasn't viable...the doctors just kept it alive (note a human) until it was viable? Wouldn't that then be viable?

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    May 16, 2019 4:33 p.m.

    No, micropremies do not change the abortion debate.

    New York and several other states now allow abortion up to complete gestation. Viable or not, they are still going to allow the fetus/child to be aborted.

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    May 16, 2019 4:20 p.m.

    It might change the debate. The argument would be that the Roe v. Wade standard was based on a determination that state's were entitled to regulate, or perhaps even prohibit, abortions at any time after the fetus became "viable," i.e., at any time after it could live outside the mother's womb without any dependence on her, which the court's "rule of thumb" identified as any time after the first trimester. Because viability is now occurring significantly sooner, the argument would be that abortions can be prohibited much earlier in the process -- and such an argument might gain some degree of support on the Supreme Court. But I think not. It seems to me the Court really has no interest in reconsidering this issue after all these years. Passions run high on both sides of the issue, and perhaps the Court would damage its credibility by wading in again now. I guess we'll see.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    May 16, 2019 4:08 p.m.

    What are the criteria for being "dead" such that a person can be taken off life-support? And who has the legal right to terminate life-support?

    Yes, medical science has advanced to the point that a patient may lose consciousness a decade or more before his heart and lungs fail!

    That is why the Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA) is followed in all fifty states and the District of Columbia in recognizing whole-brain death as a legal standard of death.

    How is a fetus different? Regardless of heartbeat, a fetus is effectively on life support: the brain is nonfunctioning, and breathing and heartbeat are maintained only by the mother. That meets the whole-brain criteria for "death", and life support can be terminated for such a person.

    There can be little doubt the mother (the "life support") has, and should always have, the authority to make life or death decisions about her baby, including cessation of "life support".

    There can be no compelling State interest that overrules that right! Any religious (or other) person trying to argue such is opening a precedent for the State overruling many parental "rights" that they are not prepared to surrender!