Richard Hutchinson defied the 0 percent odds of survival when he was born at 21 weeks and 2 days, a full 131 days premature. He just had his first birthday in June 2021. In a Live Action video that Townhall received an exclusive first look of, Richard's parents recently spoke about their son and how his survival and humanity is relevant in the abortion debate.
"Every step of the way he kept proving them wrong," said Richard's mother, Beth. "They were not expecting him to survive the delivery. They told us he had a 0 percent chance of surviving delivery because he was a 21 week baby and their hospital is a 22 week viability hospital."
While babies usually cannot survive being born so premature, it's because they cannot survive on their own. It comes down to them needing help. "Babies born at those ages usually cannot survive without assistance because they need extra help. But they will live, they will survive," Beth also shared.
Beth, and her husband, Rick, sounded hopeful in the video about babies surviving even younger.
"Our Richard was born at 21 weeks and 2 days. What if they push further? What if they can get a baby to survive at 16 weeks?" Rick offered.
"I really believe that life starts at conception. The fact that abortion is legal up to 40 weeks is outrageous, because that could be my kid. If people really saw what a 21 week baby looked like, they would be looking at a baby. It's just a tiny baby," Beth shared.
"I know people say 'my body, my choice,' but it's not your choice when it's another life," Rick mentioned, citing a common talking point from the pro-abortions side. "I hope because of him, other babies will have a chance at life," Rick said about his son.
The 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decisions of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton created a right to an abortion in all 50 states for any reason. While many point to how this is at least until viability, Doe dictated that a woman must be able to have an abortion even after viability if she has a "health" reason, though that can mean whatever the woman and abortion provider decide.
Live Action founder and president, Lila Rose, referenced Richard in an op-ed for USA Today published on December 1, when the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson. The justices were examining the constitutionality of previability abortion bans, specifically when it comes to Mississippi's Gestational Age Act from 2018, which bans most abortions after 15 weeks.
Richard has been recognized by Guiness World Records, as has Curtis Means, who bested Richard by a day in that he was born 132 days premature.
As Rose wrote in her op-ed:
Why should the court decide that life at 15 weeks is not worth saving, but life at 20 weeks is? There is nothing “potential” in the humanity of Richard at 21 weeks, which has existed since conception. Curtis’ life was no less precious a few weeks before his birth. He was no less human a few days before taking his first breath. And it’s no more important now, on his first birthday, than it was the first moment he spent in his mother’s womb.
Richard, Curtis and others like them are forcing abortion advocates to recognize an inconvenient truth: There is no difference between a 21 week old baby born prematurely and a baby that stays in its mother’s womb. .
A child’s degree of dependence does not determine his humanity. On the contrary, the more vulnerable a child, the more he needs and deserves legal protection.
So, regardless of prematurity or “pre-viability” status, human infants, born or in utero, should be entitled to protection by the same laws that protect the rest of us.
It’s time to trust science and embrace life.
Rose also provided a statement to Townhall. "Richard Hutchinson was born at 21 weeks - 131 days premature - which gives us a glimpse into life inside the womb during early development. His innate humanity, which existed since fertilization, is apparent from his ability to suck his thumb with fully formed lips, growing teeth, and unique facial expressions," she said.
"His tiny hands can grasp his mother’s fingers and he knows the sound of her voice. The fact that Richard can survive outside the womb does not diminish those younger babies who cannot. They are just as human as Richard and deserve the right to life, and the same protections as the rest of us. Abortion steals the lives of the preborn daily - 2,363 times per day in America. It’s time to end this massacre nationwide."
One of the signs of encouragement the pro-life movement has as the Court considers Dobbs is that medical technology has come a long way in not just caring for babies who are born early, but in acknowledging their humanity.
"Their stories, while worthy of recording, are becoming more and more common as advances in medicine push back the age at which a child can survive outside of its mother’s womb. Likewise, advancements in technology confirm that an unborn child is a human at the time of conception – not by magic at 21 weeks – a fact discussed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday," Rose also wrote in her op-ed about Richard and Curtis.
The United States is one of just seven nations in the world that allows for elective abortions past 20 weeks, with others including China and North Korea. During Wednesday's oral arguments, Chief Justice John Roberts referenced the country being at odds with the international community on the issue.
Late-term abortions are not only performed on pain-capable unborn children, but are also particularly dangerous for women undergoing the procedure. Despite pro-abortion talking points claiming otherwise, these abortions are mostly performed on healthy women with healthy babies and are done for socio-economic reasons.
Babies like Richard and Curtis, however, are providing hope for the pro-life movement and other parents as they continue to survive and thrive.