The Telegraph Covers Abortion Survival Baby in Italy

Pictured left is Rossano Calabria, where a baby who had survived an abortion was found still alive two days later by a Catholic Priest. The Priest prayed by the body of the baby and realised that the child was moving. It was still alive. The baby later died in intensive care, but the story has sent shockwaves through Italy.  

The Telegraph reports that on the baby boy abandoned by Italian doctors to die after a botched abortion.

The 22-week infant later died in intensive care at a hospital in the mother's home town of Rossano in southern Italy. The mother, pregnant for the first time, had opted for an abortion after prenatal scans suggested that her baby was disabled.

However the infant survived the procedure, carried out on Saturday in the Rossano Calabria hospital, and was left by doctors to die. He was discovered alive the following day – some 20 hours after the operation – by Father Antonio Martello, the hospital chaplain, who had gone to pray beside his body.

He found that the baby, wrapped in a sheet with his umbilical cord still attached, was moving and breathing. The priest raised the alarm and doctors immediately arranged for the infant to be taken to a specialist neonatal unit at a neighbouring hospital where he died on Monday morning.

Italian police are investigating the case for "homicide" because infanticide is illegal in Italy. The law means that doctors have had an obligation to try to preserve the life of the child once he had survived the abortion.

The Italian government is also considering an inquiry into the conduct of the hospital staff. The case has reignited controversy on the legality of abortion in the proudly Roman Catholic country.

It could also raise questions in Britain over the legal upper limits for abortion and the viability of the foetus – or its ability to survive outside of the womb. A spokesman for the ProLife Alliance said: "There cannot be anybody in the world who is not horrified by a story like this nor anybody in the UK who would not support a massive reduction in the upper limit for abortion."

Most abortions at 22 weeks simply involve the induction of the birth which normally results in the death of a young foetus. The case is causing uproar in Italy because it is the second involving a foetus of that age surviving the procedure in just three years.

The other involved a baby in Florence who weighed just 17oz when he was aborted at 22 weeks because of a suspected genetic disorder but lived for three days. Since 1978 abortion has been available on demand in Italy in the first three months of pregnancy but is restricted to specific circumstances – such as disability- in the second trimester. The government is considering a review of the working of the laws.

The case also comes as figures in Britain revealed last week that the number of babies born weighing only 2lbs has more than doubled in just two years. Yet the proportion of tiny babies born stillborn has nearly halved, the health service statistics have shown.

The figures do not reveal at what stage the babies were born but a child weighing under 2lbs is likely to have been born at least three months early. They will inevitably include some born alive at an age when they could, in other circumstances, have been aborted.

More than 200,000 abortions are performed each year, most for non-medical reasons within the legal upper limit of 24 weeks gestation. The increasing number of babies surviving below 24 weeks, partly because of advances in medicine, has led to widespread calls for the legal upper limit to be further reduced. Attempts to lower the limit failed in Parliament in 2008. In 2005 a baby boy in Manchester was born alive at 24 weeks after surviving three attempts to abort him. He is now a five-year-old schoolboy.


Ludolphus said…
The Zenit account is clearer as to how the baby was found:

" Prenatal scans had shown two malformations in the boy, in his palate and lip. His mother went to the Nicola Giannattasio hospital on Saturday to procure a so-called therapeutic abortion.

The baby, weighing just under 11 ounces, was deposited by doctors onto a sheet after the procedure, and placed in a container to await his death.

He continued to breathe, however, and an unidentified person noticed movement in the container on Sunday morning.

This person reported the matter to the hospital's chaplain, Father Antonio Martello, who went and found the baby.

The little boy was still alive, with his umbilical cord attached, some 24 hours after the abortion attempt.

The priest alerted the doctors, who sent the baby to a neonatal unit at a nearby hospital, The Telegraph reported. He died there Monday morning."

Zenit News Agency (

Why does the telegraph call this a "botched abortion" - what a horrible term?

I assume the baby was in a "Medical waste" bucket?
Ludolphus said…
Sorry link here:

There seems to be a bug with the direct Zenit website..
Magdalena said…
The only conclusion I can draw from this is that doctors ought to stop indicing labour right away and make sure they administer some form of toxin to ensure that the foetus is instantly killed ensuring that this will never happen again. This is indeed a tragedy
Or, alternatively...Make abortion the scandalous crime against the innocent child that it always is, always has been and always will be.
Thanks for the link ludolphus.
Kate said…
The key issue is that babies who are to be killed are killed efficiently?
Magdalena said…
Yes, if the doctors and voters have decided that a foetus is not a life, and that the termination of a vegitative being is not murder, then why would you stop doing it? Surely the point is to do so quickly, efficiently, and with out ambiguity; i.e. letting the child be born and then die so they can say 'we didn't kill it' is just crazy - if they don't think it is a murder they should use toxins to terminate the neurological processes as work in the foetus. I don't see why this is always an appeal to pity or emotion (as in your picture of a Afoetus): a lot of what goes on in a hospital is emotional and unpleasant - death is generally not nice. Amputation is generally not pleasant, but you don't go round putting up pictures of amputated limbs.
Hmm...very 'clinical'.

A lot of murderers can do it 'quickly, efficiently, and with out ambiguity'.

The Nazis became well known for it.
Magdalena, you say:

"Yes, if the doctors and voters have decided that a foetus is not a life, and that the termination of a vegetative being is not murder, then why would you stop doing it?"

But herein lies the nub of the dispute. How is it possible for the opinions of "doctors and voters" to override the simple objective fact that the foetus is a human being?

Here we see the baneful consequences of the philosophical dogma that the will precedes the intellect being played out in full. That abortion can be considered licit is simply the wielding of power against reason.
Magdalena said…
Well how can you demonstrate that you are right and I am wrong? How is it, if you have such a clear and unambiguous moral stance, that you never offer a single cool-headed proof of these claims? All you can reply with is a repeat of your position or some big words about Nazis, concentration camps, holocausts etc.
Magdalena, you write:

"Well how can you demonstrate that you are right and I am wrong? How is it,... that you never offer a single cool-headed proof of these claims? "

Goodness me, that's a pretty large claim! "We never offer" such a proof? Such proofs are pretty much standard rote in many texts on ethics.

If you are interested in learning about these standard philosophical proofs upon which the claims being made are based and the scientific evidence that supports them, might I suggest that you review such texts as:

George & Tollefsen, "Embryo: A Defense of Human Life".
Beckwith, "Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice".
Oderberg, "Applied Ethics".

If you would also like more background in the ethical theory underpinning the arguments made in these texts, Oderberg's "Moral Theory" is a pretty good text.
Magdalena said…
Because of course it's impossible for a critic of your position to also simply name a list of books supporting their views....

Look, a foetus is biologically a person, but not a person morally speaking. If a couple expect a child and that expectation shapes their plans for life, their ambitions for the future etc, then the loss of that child, through miscarriage, is a tragedy. But there are millions of spontaneous miscarriages each year. In trying to conceive, the average couple will 'lose' 6 foetuses before one implants itself. According to your argument, that is 6 dead children. Who is the murderer then? Well, God designed the human body, so ....

But this of course assumes you accept a foetus is a moral person. It is not, it is a biological being with the potential to become a person. You can talk about a child that survived abortion and ruminate upon 'what ifs', but you could also ask 'what if your mother had not had sex the night she conceived you?' - you wouldn't be here. Scary to think that your life is that contingent, but it is. No reason to panic, no reason to force people to have unwanted children (or shall we just encourage couples to have sex all the time and have as many children as they possibly can?)

The fact that a couple do not grieve for the 6 spontaneously terminated foetuses is because they do not, at the time, expect a particular life to come intot he world, do not have plans for it etc. Death is a tragedy on account of the living, not the dead. If I get hit by a bus, it is not because I lose my life that my death is a tragic one, it is because my parents and my son lose my life. Similarly, the death of a child is tragic because the parents lose their child. But the termination of an unexpected (or unwanted) foetus, whether by God's or nature's sloppy design, or by human choice, is clearly not tragic in this sense. For all the moral philosophy you can cite, this is simply an intuitive truth of human existence. I would greatly appreciate your reply here, as I think this is an important debate, and that you happen to be wrong!
I've posted on your comment.

I notice that Laurence has opened up a new thread based on your last reply. I'll put my substantive comments to your reply over on that thread.

But one things puzzles me about your reply. You say:

"Because of course it's impossible for a critic of your position to also simply name a list of books supporting their views...."

But Magdalena, I posted these references in answer to your previous comment:

"Well how can you demonstrate that you are right and I am wrong? How is it, if you have such a clear and unambiguous moral stance, that you never offer a single cool-headed proof of these claims?"

Many cooled headed proofs of such claims are given in what might now be considered to be the standard literature. I listed these references in order to demonstrate the weakness of the assertion that such proofs are never offered.

I'm well aware of the counter literature and have read much of it. Now, will you read the references I have given you? They answer most, if not all, of the assertions that you have made in your latest reply.