Tories distorted abortion study, say scientists
Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, cited to MPs last week a landmark report by David Field, professor of neonatology at Leicester University who is president of the British Association of Perinatal Medicine. Field was lead author of a study published in the British Medical Journal into the survival of very premature babies which Lansley used to justify his call for a cut in the abortion time limit.
But Field said last night he could not see how Lansley could draw this conclusion, because his report made clear there had been no change in the evidence in recent years. "It is a terribly simple paper: at 24 and 25 weeks there is no doubt that survival is improved. At 22 and 23 weeks we found no evidence whatsoever. Survival at 23 weeks in the first six years (of my report 1994 to 1999) was 18.46% of those who admitted to a neonatal unit. In the second period (2000 to 2005) it is 18.52% ... It was almost as identical as you can get it. There is no change."