BRISTOL, UK, December 31, 2013 ( – A young British couple in turmoil has decided to keep their unborn baby girl – after the child survived a previous attempt to abort her.

Shannon Skinner, 19, said she and her 24-year-old boyfriend, Anthony Hunt, had relationship issues. She was also experiencing postpartum depression after the birth of their infant daughter, Lacie, who was then just four-months-old.


They decided to have a chemical abortion at the Marie Stopes office in Stoke Gifford on September 20, her eighth week of pregnancy. Skinner also had a hormonal contraceptive implant placed in her arm.

But morning sickness and sensations of a baby moving inside her womb persisted. And home pregnancy tests came back positive.

Doctors said these side-effects were common after an abortion. After three months of continued pregnancy symptoms, Skinner insisted on a return visit. On December 20, a new pregnant test confirmed her suspicions: The two abortion-inducing drugs they administered had failed, and she was still pregnant.

Skinner had barely gotten over the grief of aborting her own child when she found out that she had a second chance to give her baby life. “I had grieved for that baby and we'd just managed to get our heads around” the abortion, she said. “I'd always been one of those people that was against abortions and hated them.”

Marie Stopes International said the fine print shows three to four percent of all medical abortions fail. “We discuss this with any woman considering the treatment and advise on the necessary follow-up to monitor for a failure, so further treatment may be sought if needed,” the group said in a statement.

At 20 weeks along, Skinner still had four weeks to seek an abortion under UK law. But after an ultrasound allowed them to see their – a girl – they changed their minds.

“We've now decided to keep the baby, as we don't feel it's right to have an abortion at this stage,” Skinner said. “She's obviously a little fighter, and we don't want to cause it any more harm.”


“When I had the abortion it didn't feel the same as it does now,” Skinner said. “We have seen her, and she has a heartbeat now.” (The fetal heartbeat develops earlier than many people realize, between the fifth and seventh week of pregnancy.)

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Skinner told the Bristol Post she's worried for the safety of her child. “The medication can cause abnormalities, and I'm halfway through my pregnancy without receiving any medical attention,” she said. Although the ultrasound showed the baby girl is currently healthy, Skinner says “there's no guarantee how it's going to go” when she gives birth on May 7. But she's decided to let her child live, come what may.

Not everyone is overjoyed that Skinner and Hunt had the chance to reconsider. “Cases like this are few and far between, but of course that does not make the situation any the less upsetting,” Marie Stopes International said. 


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