From the BBC:
A report by the birth specialists’ professional body said the care of sicker babies was compromising services for healthier babies and their mothers.
Costs must be considered as experts became able to save more and more earlier babies, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists added.
[A] spokeswoman for the royal college said there was a proper professional concern around the high death and disability rate of babies born under 25 weeks.
The RCOG report to the Nuffield Council on Bio-ethics said: “Some weight should be given to economic considerations as there is a real issue in neo-natal units of ‘bed blocking’; whereby women have to be transferred in labour to other units, compromising both their and their babies’ care.
“One of the problems of the ‘success’ of neonatal intensive care is that the practitioners are always pushing the boundaries.
“There has been a constant need to expand numbers of cots to cover the increasing tendency to try and rescue baby at lower and lower gestations.”
President of the Royal College of Paediatrics Professor Alan Craft said many paediatricians would support moves to bring in a model followed in the Netherlands of no active intervention for these very early babies.
He added: “The vast majority of children born at this gestation who do survive have significant disabilities.
“There is a lifetime cost and that needs to be taken into the equation when society tries to decide whether it wants to intervene.”
Nothing surprises me anymore. Nothing shocks me. This? This is just the implications of abortion beginning to be carried to their logical conclusion. What is a little shocking is that this discussion is taking place without even the tiniest attempt to hide the crassly financial motive behind it.
There is still a voice of reason in the UK:
Pressure group Patient Concern said the attitude of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists towards premature babies would horrify potential parents.
The group’s co-director Joyce Robins said: “Babies born at 24 weeks have nearly a 40% chance of survival. What is the next step? Withholding treatment from anyone with cancer, heart or respiratory disease who has only a 40% chance of a worthwhile life?
“Once we have doctors marking people for life or death on this inhumane basis, we shall find ourselves in a terrifying society.”
Dawn Eden has more here.
Strangely, at the same time, EU governments are worried about steeply declining birth-rates. Not everyone cares:
Some analysts believe the fears are exaggerated. It seems richly ironic, they argue, to be worrying about falling numbers of people and, at the same time, to be fretting about the drain on natural resources, and the jostle for living space.
In addition, women’s ability to control the number of children they have is a positive development, freeing them from a life of ongoing pregnancies.
I guess the one positive is that this could marginalize France and Germany even more than they already are! (That’s only semi-serious, people. I like Germans.)