Parents Of Premature Baby Release Daughter’s Photo, Challenge 24-Week Abortion Limit

Adelaide Caines was born prematurely at 24-weeks and survived only long enough for one snapshot to be taken. Emily and Alastair Caines released that photograph in hopes of starting a commentary on the 24-week abortion limit in their country. The photograph is the Caines’ only picture of their daughter. It was taken by one of the medics as the baby let out her first cry after being born prematurely at 24-weeks gestation.

Adelaide Caines was born in Southmead Hospital in Bristol, England. The current law in the UK allows a pregnancy to be terminated up to 24-weeks gestation, but Emily hopes the photograph of her daughter will lower that limit.

“Our picture shows Adelaide was not a fetus. She was a fully formed human being and to think that a baby like her could be legally terminated on grounds of a lifestyle choice is to me is horrifying,” Emily Caines said, as quoted in Irish Mirror.

Emily said that she believes, with the exception of medically needed abortions, the 24-week limit for an abortion should be lowered.

Adelaide was not the first child Emily lost to prematurity, according to Love it! Magazine.

“My first daughter was born at 23 weeks and classed as a late miscarriage. Isabelle was born at 24 weeks and classed as neonatal death, but they looked exactly the same. Neither were a miscarriage but I think it’s easier for people to use that term,” Emily said. “But that doesn’t acknowledge the fact that a mother has been through labor, delivery and seen and held their baby. I hope this beautiful picture of my daughter being born helps change people’s perspectives.”

Emily fell in love with Alastair during the grieving period after the loss of Emily’s first child, according to Love it! Magazine.

“I was grieving and dreading the first anniversary of losing Isabelle so when Alistair suggested we get married on that day at first I was surprised but then I agreed it was a lovely idea,” Emily recalled. Mr. and Mrs. Caines were married on September 8, 2012. “It turned what was going to be one of the worst days of my life into one of the happiest and that’s how I want to feel when I think about my daughter.”

Adelaide was conceived with the help of in-vitro fertilization. Emily recalled that she was hopeful when Adelaide was delivered and let out a cry. Adelaide was born weighing just under two pounds, according to Love it! Magazine.

“That cry filled us with so much hope. Her little fists were waving and I could see the doctors working on her,” Emily Caines explained.

Still, Adelaide was too underdeveloped to survive. The couple was told that it would be impossible to get a line into their prematurely born daughter’s lungs, and suggested that the kindest thing the couple could do was to let their daughter go.

“Thinking of my daughters together was the only thing that got me through arranging another funeral,” Emily explained. “Our daughter may not have lived long but she was still our daughter and we love to talk about her and celebrate her life. Sadly in this day and age some people still find that offensive or uncomfortable. I find it particularly hurtful when people use the term late miscarriage to describe our daughter because she was born so early into my pregnancy. But I think this picture of her crying out shows that clearly that is not the case. I went through labor and delivery with both of my premature babies. Adelaide lived for more than an hour and will always be very much part of our lives.”

The emotional power of fetal and micro-premie photography has been used to alter abortion laws before. USA Today published Michael Clancy’s image of a 21-week old fetus undergoing surgery to correct spina bifida, according to writer Sarah Ackley. Though Clancy’s image, presented as though the fetus reached out to grab the surgeon’s hand, did not match the surgeon’s story. The image was presented by anti-abortion activists during Congressional debates regarding the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. That law was later passed in the U.S. in 2003.

Imagery has been used by pro-choice advocates as well. In 1973, Ms. Magazine published an image of a nameless woman who had died from an illegal abortion.

“Because various abortion-law repeal and reform groups have used this photograph as one answer to the magnified fetus photographs so often displayed by antiabortion forces,” Ms. Magazine author Roberta Brandes Gratz wrote, “this individual woman has come to represent the thousands of women who have been maimed or murdered by a society that denied them safe and legal abortions.”

The L’il Aussie Prems Foundation has an area of its website dedicated to sharing survival stories of babies born at 24-weeks gestation who beat the odds. In recent years, more micro-premie babies born at 24-weeks are surviving, but, according to the Daily Mail, “research funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) appears to find a cut-off point in terms of chances of survival at 24 weeks — the current legal limit for abortion.”

[Photo derived via original on Daily Mail]