“The Oldenburg Baby.” That’s what the German media dubbed Tim Guido when he was accidentally born alive on July 6, 1997, at the Städtische Frauenklinik hospital in Oldenburg, Germany, after a failed abortion.
Diagnosed with Down syndrome, Tim’s biological parents decided to abort him during the 25th week of pregnancy. According to Youth Defence, he was considered to be so premature that doctors didn’t think he would ever survive labor, so it is likely the abortionist never injected him with the potassium chloride that would have killed him before labor was induced. But Tim didn’t die. He was born alive – breathing and moving. Yet no one helped him — not at first.
For nine hours Tim was left on his own, simply wrapped in a towel, until one of the nurses finally found the compassion to help him, and her actions convinced the doctors to do the same. While Tim would survive, those hours without medical care left him with disabilities. His eyes, brain, and lungs had suffered damage, and during the first years of his life, he would undergo multiple surgeries. Later he would be diagnosed with autism.
His birth parents still refused to care for him, but Bernhard and Simone Guido, foster parents who had planned to adopt a healthy baby girl, took one look at Tim and knew he was meant to be their son. “We immediately thought: he belongs to us,” Simone told the Irish Times.
Doctors didn’t think Tim would live more than two years because of the complications with his health. But he proved them wrong. With the love and support of his adoptive parents, Tim received all of the therapy and treatments he needed, including time spent participating in dolphin therapy, which helped him to take great steps in his motor and communication skills. After dolphin therapy, he was able to attend a specialized school.
Tim’s parents were forever changed by the joy that Tim brought to their lives, and they fostered two more children with Down syndrome. Tim and his siblings were raised with love.
In January, Tim suddenly died at the age of 21 after developing a lung infection. His parents said he spent his last Christmas and New Year’s happy with his family. “We are very sad and don’t yet know how we should come to terms with the loss of our son who was unique, full of life, and spread joy,” his parents said in a statement. “Of course, we’re thinking a lot about Tim’s life now and have saved a lot of very nice memories for us.”
Tim’s biological parents sued the hospital in 1998 for failing to kill their son, stating that they had not been informed that he had a chance of surviving. The abortionist was supposed to be charged with battery, but no charges were ever actually pressed and the investigation was closed. In 2003, he was fined €13,000 for failing to care for Tim when he was born alive. According to Youth Defence, Professor Dietrich Berg, President of the German Gynecological & Obstetrical Society, estimates that each year, about 100 children survive abortions in Germany.
As a result of their experience raising Tim and the circumstances of his birth, Tim’s parents began campaigning against late-term abortion in Germany, and the use of prenatal testing in order to push abortions.
Abortion at 25 weeks involves injecting the preborn child in the heart or the head with a toxin, usually digoxin or potassium chloride, meant to kill him. Then labor is induced three days later, and the mother delivers a dead baby. Children at this age are capable of surviving, as proven by Tim back in 1997. Today, the chances of survival are even greater.
While abortion supporters claim that abortion is necessary after viability in cases of the health of the mother, this is untrue. In reality, it is safer to perform an emergency c-section that takes minutes, versus an abortion that takes days, especially if the women’s health and life are in danger. The only reason abortion exists after viability is for elective reasons — including aborting a child for not being healthy enough for the parents. It’s discrimination and eugenics, and it’s exactly what the founder of Planned Parenthood Margaret Sanger envisioned: a world in which we can kill those deemed unworthy of life by others.
Tim, however, proved that all lives are worth living, no matter how different they may be.
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