'Most Premature Baby' Ever Born Is Now Thriving. Shouldn't This Raise Questions About Abortion?

small premature baby lies in an incubator a grown hand reaches in grasping the foot in caring manner

Last week, an article on CNN reported that, at three years old, the “most premature baby” ever born is now thriving. Born at just 21 weeks and four days gestation (possibly the earliest any baby has ever been born and survived), baby girl Stensrud is now a “fun-loving, spunky” little girl who shows no ill effects from being born so early. Her premature birth and subsequent survival without any noticeable ill effects is giving doctors hope that, as Dr. Kaashif Ahmad, baby Stensrud’s doctor, says, they will be able to push the boundaries of “how premature a baby can be born and not only survive but have a positive developmental outcome.”

But something is wrong here. In the entire CNN article — which celebrates baby Stensrud’s good health, and what it means for premature birth — there is one word that is glaring in its omission: abortion. If baby girl Stensrud is a miracle — whose life is to be lauded and celebrated, and whose survival gives doctors hope that others like her might live as well — then what does that say about other babies just exactly her gestational age whose lives were terminated?

Abortion is one of the most contentious issues in our country today. Because of what each side believes, there can be no compromise. For a long time I was pro-choice. But a miscarriage I had after nine weeks of pregnancy convinced me, for a variety of reasons, that what I had lost was not a clump of cells, but a baby. Which necessarily caused me to flip suddenly (and somewhat reluctantly) from being pro-choice to pro-life.

But I can certainly understand the other side of the issue. And I feel intense compassion for people who find themselves faced with this terrible choice. Not the women who choose to abort their babies because, for example, they wanted a boy and they were having a girl. But surely we can all feel for someone who became pregnant after rape, or who has learned that her baby has some terrible condition, or may not live much past birth. But just because the issue is thorny, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask hard questions. In fact, I believe it means we must.

Pro-abortion advocates want us to believe that the fight over abortion rights is one of women’s freedom. “My body my choice!” they chant, letting us know that government should have no say over what is done to their bodies. And, on principle, this makes sense. Women should have the final say over what medical procedures to have or not have, which tattoos to get or not get, which men to have sex with, which clothes to wear. And since, to them, an unborn baby is not a human being, this is a logical statement.