Thursday, May 29, 2008

The tiniest survivor: How the 'miracle' baby born two weeks before the legal abortion limit clung to life against all odds


Against all odds: Amillia Taylor's
tiny feet in the doctor's hand

Miracle may be the perfect word for Amillia.
It's the iconic image of the abortion debate - the tiny feet of a baby girl born TWO WEEKS before the legal limit for terminations. But what happened next? For the first time, we tell her inspiring story...

At 18 months old, Amillia Taylor is already entering the terrible twos.

When life doesn't go her way, she stamps her little foot, pushes out her lower lip and makes her demands with a sweet baby lisp.

She is, her parents say with a smile, a 'proper little madam'. But it's a fighting spirit which has served Amillia well.

Because this bright, beguiling toddler was born at just 21 weeks and six days into her gestation - a whole two weeks before the existing abortion cut-off.

She is the world's youngest premature baby ever to survive and the image of her tiny feet poking out between the fingers of a doctor's hand were used to support calls for the lowering of the 24-week legal limit on abortion.

When she arrived, Amillia weighed less than 10oz and was just nine-and-a-half inches long, with skin which tore like rice paper.

But as the debate over lowering the abortion limit raged this week - culminating in Tuesday's Commons vote which vetoed any change in the law - she was playing happily with her dolls, like any other toddler.

The extraordinary story of her battle for life, and the mother who desperately lied to persuade doctors to try to save her, began with an IVF [In vitro fertilisation] cycle in June 2006.

Now that her story is out, she'll be the central focus in the abortion debate. She already is in England.

Note: Headline links to source.

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