Someone just sent me this study. It’s from 2008, so not new, but I was not aware of it. The executive summary (beware the clinical language, talking about this poor little guy):
A 28-year-old woman, with only moderate asthma treated occasionally by albuterol, became pregnant 3 years after a miscarriage and 1 year after a full-term pregnancy resulting in a healthy, normal child. No use of illicit drugs was reported. She decided to terminate this pregnancy and started the French protocol for chemical abortion at the beginning of the seventh week of gestation (day 43). She received oral mifepristone 600 mg and, 2 days later, misoprostol 400 μg. One month later, despite significant metrorrhagia, an ultrasound examination showed ongoing pregnancy, with no anomalies observed in the fetus. The patient requested genetic consultation during the fifteenth week of pregnancy; thus, pharmacovigilance advice was solicited to counsel the woman on teratogenic risks. A follow-up by a sonographer was started because the woman decided to continue her pregnancy. The woman delivered a boy at 33 weeks and 3 days of pregnancy; his measurements were within normal parameters for his age of gestation: weight 2.28 kg, length 46 cm, and cranial perimeter 31 cm. The boy presented with transient respiratory distress, which was corrected rapidly. Diagnosis was immediate for left facial palsy, microretrognathia, and axial hypotonia related to Möbius syndrome (Figure 1). Eight weeks after birth, the left facial palsy and microretrognathia were still present. At month 4, the infant was able to suck without help, but he was still hypotonic and unable to lift his head completely or grasp objects.
A couple of things. Mostly, my point is that there is no “undo” button, not for sex resulting in pregnancy and not for abortion–these are final things. But here we see a mother who was able to change her mind on extinguishing the life within her. I applaud this, but I also feel terribly bad for her son, who will live with some challenges thanks to her earlier decision.
These sorts of cases also highlight that life is a continuum: we start out very small and funny-looking (take a look at photos of very early gestation pregnancy); we grow into… what you see walking all around you every day. Mothers don’t drink or smoke to protect that development, knowing very well that the person growing inside them is the person they will always be. It just all highlights that a person’s a person, no matter how small.
And lest there be any confusion on the matter, this abortion survivor is a person too, fully human and fully loved, even with some disabilities. I’m sadly quite sure that the report offers this advice in order that some women should choose to get the job done right, once and for all:
Ineffective use of mifepristone and misoprostol in the first trimester of pregnancy may be associated with a risk of Möbius syndrome, primarily due to misoprostol activity. Women with ongoing pregnancy after failed abortion with misoprostol administration should be informed of this risk.