NRL News

British Government Study May Have Put Premature Babies at Risk

by | Jun 16, 2014


By Micaiah Bilger, Education Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

preemie21reI always find it interesting how news stories seem to coincide.

A few days ago, I read about a Time magazine cover story featuring the wonderful medical technology now available to help premature babies survive and thrive.

Today, I read about an investigation into a government study of premature babies that may have put the babies’ lives at greater risk. The Daily Signal reports that some parents were encouraged to sign up for the study without receiving details about what it was or how it could risk their babies’ already fragile health.

According to the article, “It was a national, government-funded experiment on 1,316 extremely premature infants in which their fate may as well have rested with the flip of a coin.”

The study researched the effects of oxygen given at different levels to premature babies. When a premature baby’s lungs are still developing, too much or too little oxygen can cause serious damage. Researches wanted to find the perfect amount for these babies.

Sounds good, right? The problem was that “there were key differences in how researchers treated babies in the study compared with those not in the study.”

“Normally, medical personnel constantly adjust oxygen as preemies’ conditions change, based on their individual needs. But the SUPPORT study was designed to keep infants in their randomly assigned range, despite a baby’s individual needs.

“And in a decision that one government source says shocked seasoned researchers when they learned of it, the babies’ oxygen monitors intentionally were altered to provide false readings. The reason: so medical staff wouldn’t be tempted to adjust oxygen out of the babies’ study-assigned range.”

Why are some babies treated with the utmost care and value, while others are being used as objects for research? Why this inequality?

Our abortion-minded culture has allowed us to devalue certain human beings, to treat them as objects because they are sick or poor or unwanted.

Through stories like these, we as pro-lifers can help others to see how critically important it is to treat every single human life equally.

Categories: Premature babies