The survival of two record-breaking premature babies in Ottawa has brought the humanity of the unborn child sharply into focus.
The Ottawa Citizen recently reported in a front-page story the amazing birth of James Gill on May 20, just 145 days after conception, claiming a new Guinness Book of World Records award. However, 10 days later, another Ottawa family came forward with the story of their 18-month old daughter Tina Lynn, born after only 141 days in her mother’s womb, beating James’ record by four days. Both children were born at roughly half the normal gestation period.
Although not a Guinness entry after all, tiny James Gill is a scrappy infant who survived his extremely premature birth without a trace of damage. His parents are certain for his date of conception, and were prepared for a miscarriage when mother Brenda went into a premature six-day labour. But doctors at Ottawa’s Civic Hospital decided instantly to try to resuscitation when James cried moments after birth. The baby weighed one pound, six ounces.
For the next four months the Gills watched their baby develop; at birth his eyes were still fused and his ears were not yet completely formed. Brenda Gill rarely left her son’s side, reading stories to him, and leaving a tape-recording of her voice behind when she was away from him. Both parents were determined to simulate as closely as possible the bonding process, which normally takes place within the womb. When James finally opened one eye and looked at her, his mother was certain he knew who she was.
Heart surgery was performed by the internationally renowned heart-surgeon Dr. Wilbert Keon. At the time James weighed less in total than an average human heart. Keon
completed the delicate operation in 11 minutes, minimizing the dangerous time spent by the tiny body under aesthetic.
The other child, Tina Lynn Guilbeault-Hartley, was born at the Ottawa General Hospital on March 21, 1986. Her projected birth date was July 12. After 141 days in her mother’s womb, or just over 20 weeks, Tina Lynn weighed one pound, two ounces. She spent five months in an incubator at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, and later was rushed back to the hospital several times suffering from lack of oxygen. Her parents say her fragile health at the one time prompted them to remain quiet about her astonishing survival. Now 18 months of age, she is still smaller than her peers, but doctors have not detected any long-term problems.
There is an underlying discrepancy in moral ethics in both these cases. The doctor who delivered Tina Lynn and has her picture proudly displayed in his office is also an abortionist. The Civic Hospital, where James Gill received such excellent medical treatment, performs 2,000 abortions per year. The chairman of the therapeutic abortion committee has testified that the hospital aborts 20 babies each year at 18 to 20 weeks’ gestation.
Statistics Canada figures from 1985 reveal that 1,1815 babies between the ages of 17 and 20 weeks were aborted, while a further 181 were aborted after the ages of 20 weeks. These grisly abortion statistics were made known to the House of Commons in a statement by MP Jim Jepson (London East) in the two tiny infants. Jepson accurately points out that their survival clearly indicates the humanity of the unborn child.