Born at 23 weeks, smallest surviving premature baby discharged from hospital

She’s the smallest newborn to ever survive.

Born from an emergency c-section in December, the little girl, nicknamed Saybie, was born at just 23 weeks. This week, the baby was discharged from the hospital.

When she was born, Saybie weighed just 8.6 ounces.

Not 8 pounds, 6 ounces. That would have been a healthy, above average birth weight.

Saybie weighed 8.6 ounces! About the weight of a juice box. Doctors knew she was going to be small, but when Saybie was born, even they were surprised.

It’s an incredible story. It’s makes me marvel at what technology and medical advances can accomplish. 23 weeks is the middle of the second trimester! And she survived. From articles, it seems that there were no major complications.

I’ve seen this story shared from several mainstream media outlets including the Washington Post, BBC, CBS News, and People Magazine.

I’m struck by the cognitive dissonance, and how there are people who can simultaneously marvel that this child was able to survive, but to also think aborting children several months further into a pregnancy is justified and a woman’s right.

I’ve heard people point to viability (when a child can survive outside the mother) as a point of no return when it’s no longer moral to terminate a pregnancy. Part of the reason why I think that view is problematic is because viability is largely dependent on available technology. Just a few years ago, this baby would no have survived. If she had been born today in many other parts of the world, her survival would not have been possible.
Sharp Healthcare 

Even before she was born, Saybie was a developing human life. Not a potential human. Not part of her mother. A genetically distinct person. Saybie’s birth is noteworthy because of how prematurely she was born. But even at just 23 weeks, incredible development had already happened for Saybie inside the womb. The youngest baby ever born had already had a heart beating for 17 weeks. Every bodily organ had started developing during the first trimester. Saybie already had developed fingernails. Considering Saybie is a female, 13 weeks before she was born, her ovaries already contain her own eggs. Eight weeks before she was born (as the most premature baby ever), she would have already been beginning to make facial expressions. And the list goes on.

Thankfully, technological advances will keep happening. She’s the smallest baby ever born. For now.

But as the abortion debate continues, people will continue to think that babies who are even older, and who have the same potential and worth, don’t deserve to get to live their lives.

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Josh Benner has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has served churches in Minnesota and Illinois. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in St. Louis.