As the health care debate raged, I often wondered about the "infant mortality" argument that I often heard repeated, "the United States ranks 41 in infant mortality." I wondered about this statistic a lot. I've had two very close friends, one who delivered a son 4 weeks premature and the other who delivered a son 6 weeks premature. Both of these boys are alive and doing very well. Another friend works in a neonatal unit here in Utah where they are saving babies that are born weighing only 1 pound. And not only that, they have learned many ways that they can mimic the womb. Premature children used to face a life where they were certain to face many, many challenges. That is no longer certain.
My friend whose son was born 6 weeks premature and weighed just over a pound is a brilliant 1rst grader, a great reader with no physical or mental disabilities at all. My other friend, whose son was born 4 weeks premature is a bit older. While medical science was not nearly as advanced, he still is now in the 90 percentile of growth. He has no physical limitations and is very bright. He does struggle with Aspergers Syndrome, but he is the light of his parents lives and has many, many friends who love him.
These boys were both born in Utah, so to be counted as a live birth they only had to do one thing and that is to TAKE A SINGLE BREATH. In Utah, that is the only requirement. In some European countries, they don't count deaths of very pre-mature babies at all. Others require them to live a certain number of weeks or months. In some African nations, they don't even name their babies until after they are several years old.
After doing some research on my own, I can tell you that I truly believe that if you are born in the United States, you are blessed and have the very best chance of not only being counted as a person, but surviving and thriving.
Here is an excellent article from the National Review