Improving survival rates for premature babies mean doctors should try and save babies born after just 22 weeks, according to new guidance.
Previously, the official guidance recommended that only babies born at 23 weeks or later be given treatment to save their lives.
But new evidence and the availability of new technology now means those born even earlier can survive, according to the British Association of Perinatal Medicine.
Prof Dominic Wilkinson, a consultant neonatologist, who helped draw up the guidance, said it was “fantastic news” that some babies born at an earlier stage were now surviving.
The new guidance has raised big questions about the obvious contradiction in British law.
At the moment, it is legal to have an abortion in Great Britain right up until 24 weeks.
The new guidance highlights that in a hospital, in one room doctors are fighting to protect the life of a premature baby, while in the other, they are carrying out an abortion.
The more we understand about how to care for premature babies, the more we should be asking why we permit 24 weeks, when even other European countries set a 12-week limit.
The situation in Northern Ireland, once a place where the law affirmed life, has changed dramatically and is now a lot more complicated.