Zero chance of viability! That’s what the doctors said about little Richard Scott William Hutchinson last June when born 131 days premature. And when I say little, I mean really little! He could easily fit into the palm of his mother’s hand.
Born at just over 21 weeks gestational age, he weighed less than three-quarters of one pound (11.9 oz). When he was born at Children’s Minnesota, his parents Rick and Beth Hutchinson were prepared for the expected outcome – no chance of survival.
Baby Richard celebrated his one-year-old birthday earlier this month, breaking a Guinness World record as the most premature baby ever to survive. This broke the previous record held by Frieda Mangold, born 128 days premature in May of 1987.
We celebrate with these parents for the long and hard-fought battles for the lives of their precious children!
Meanwhile, other battles are underway.
The U.S. Supreme Court wrongly established in the 1973 Roe v. Wade, along with its companion Doe v. Bolton case, a so-called constitutional right to abortion, while giving states the right to define abortion restrictions based on the child’s ability to survive outside the womb.
Currently, 43 states protect some in utero babies by drawing a line of demarcation -- making abortion illegal at some point in time during the pregnancy:
- 22 states at 13 – 24 weeks
- 1 state at 20 weeks
- 17 states at 22 weeks
- 4 states at 24 weeks
- 20 states at age of “viability” (24-28 weeks)
- 1 state into the third trimester.
In addition to these restrictions instituted among U.S. states, a plethora of laws have passed doing away with abortion altogether or shortening the allowable time frame. Of course, federal and state courts have consistently blocked enforcement of such laws.
Following are a few highlights collected by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute:
- 16 states (including four with two different bans) have attempted to ban abortion before viability but have been stopped by court order. Several of these states still have bans in effect at a later point in pregnancy.
- 3 states attempted to ban abortion throughout pregnancy.
- 8 states attempted to ban abortion at 6 weeks LMP (from last menstrual period), based on the presence of a fetal heartbeat.
- 1 state attempted to ban abortion at 8 weeks LMP.
- 1 state attempted to ban abortion at 12 weeks LMP.
- 2 states attempted to ban abortion at 15 weeks LMP.
- 2 states attempted to ban abortion at 18 weeks LMP.
- 2 states attempted to ban abortion at 20 weeks LMP (18 weeks postfertilization in state law).
- 1 state attempted to ban abortion at 22 weeks LMP (20 weeks postfertilization in state law).
A case involving Mississippi’s state ban on abortions after 15 weeks is making its way to the U.S. Supreme Court after the law was declared unconstitutional by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, claiming an “unbroken line dating to Roe v. Wade” had firmly established the right to pre-viability abortion.
But that so-called line drawn 48 years ago has become increasingly unreliable as more information has become available concerning in utero development, including the unborn child’s ability to feel pain.
The fact is that baby Richard did not suddenly become a human being when he reached his one-year mark… or when he was born at 21 weeks.
Baby Richard was a valuable person, created in the image of His Creator, long before his premature birth.
His life, and every other human life, began at conception – the only true unbroken line.