On the November 15th 2018 airing of NewsHub live at 6 pm, reporter Lucy Warhurst featured an article about a comprehensive 2-year study undertaken by a team at the University of Otago regarding the long-term outcomes of premature babies born in New Zealand.
Dr Nevil Pierse, a Statistician from the University of Otago, explains that the study has involved analysing 20 years of data from 1.2 million premature babies, looking at a whole range of life events such as early life survival, early life medical needs, educational needs, and school grades all the way through childhood and into early adulthood.
This research is a world first and, as said by Dr Max Berry who is a Consultant Neonatologist & Senior Lecturer in Paediatrics and Child Health, “Now for the first time we’ve got this tremendous ability to say, ‘In New Zealand, within our context, within our culture, this is what it looks like for our children growing up’, and that’s an incredibly powerful resource to have.”
From this research we know that even babies born as premature as 24 weeks have a 66% chance of survival. Further, although there is an increased risk of respiratory problems and learning difficulties, most extremely preterm children do not require special educational support and are able to do well in school.
It is incredibly encouraging to see from this research the advances being made in the care of premature babies here in New Zealand. However, while we have made excellent advances in the caring and ensuring the survival of those born prematurely, we have an inconsistent push within our government to allow the killing of babies within the womb at same age or as those discussed by the study.
It is inconsistent to be on the one hand pouring money, time and resources into the survival and flourishing of unborn children, and on the other, championing the right of women to kill their unborn children.
This inconsistency cannot be justified by the mere fact that some children are not wanted as human life has intrinsic value which is not dependent on the subjective opinion of other humans.
I am so proud of the advances that have made in pre-mature care here in New Zealand! All babies, born or unborn deserve a chance at life. May we be a nation that gives all human life that chance!