The survival of pre-term baby Amillia Taylor, at 21 weeks gestation the youngest know child to survive premature birth, has produced an increase in media debate on the abortion issue.
Mainstream media outlets in the United States have acknowledged that the baby's life raises "big questions" about legal abortion. Weighing less than 10 ounces and just 9½ inches long, Amillia was born one month earlier than the date considered viable for most babies, 25 weeks. About half of the babies born at 25 weeks will survive. Abortion laws are often based on an assumption of viability, with the cut-off being set at the point where babies would be likely to survive outside the womb.
ABC anchor Charles Gibson made the account of Amillia's survival the top story on World News Tuesday night, calling the baby, "A tiny miracle that raises big questions in the debate over abortion, " according to a blog report by Brent Baker posted on NewsBusters.com February 20.
"The fact that she has survived and grown to more than four pounds, and is about to go home, is a miracle, yes, but a miracle that may have an effect on the debate over abortion. And it may change what people think about life."
Dan Harris, pro-abortion reporter for ABC, pointed out that in most of the country, Amillia could have been legally aborted well past the point of her birth.
"Only one state, North Carolina, explicitly prohibits aborting a fetus at the point at which Amillia was born; 12 states permit abortion at that point; 23 states leave it to a doctor to decide whether the fetus is viable; and in 14 states, there are no laws on the books that would prevent such an abortion."
Tony Perkins, with the Family Research Council, was interviewed by ABC for the story. "As we see, with the advancement of medical technology, we have children surviving outside the womb younger and younger," Perkins said. "It really brings into focus how valuable and how precious this human life really is."
Now weighing a healthy 4 pounds, Amillia is due to be released from hospital within the next few days. Apart from some respiratory and digestive difficulties, her doctors said she has done remarkably well.
"She told us early on from the start that she was a fighter and she wanted to be here," said Dr. William Smalling from the Baptist Children's Hospital in Kendall, Florida.
Comments posted on Newsbusters pointed out that at 35 weeks from conception, Amillia is still three weeks from her natural birth date and could legally be aborted in many states if she had remained in her mother‘s womb.