Anyone who knows me knows I’m aware of the sensitivities associated with abortion. Although in one sense (something like the sense reflected in the post title) I think it can fairly be seen as a simple issue, I also affirm that it has complexities.
The baby was diagnosed with spina bifida and would not survive if removed from his mother’s womb. Little Samuel’s mother, Julie Armas, is an obstetrics nurse in Atlanta . She knew of Dr. Bruner’s remarkable surgical procedure. Practicing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville , he performs these special operations while the baby is still in the womb.
During the procedure, the doctor removes the uterus via C-section and makes a small incision to operate on the baby. As Dr.Bruner completed the surgery on Samuel, the little guy reached his tiny, but fully developed hand through the incision and firmly grasped the surgeon’s finger. DrBruner was reported as saying that when his finger was grasped, it was the most emotional moment of his life, and that for an instant during the procedure he was just frozen, totally immobile.
The photograph captures this amazing event with perfect clarity. The editors titled the picture, ‘Hand of Hope.’ The text explaining the picture begins, ‘The tiny hand of 21-week- old fetus Samuel Alexander Armas emerges from the mother’s uterus to grasp the finger of Dr. Joseph Bruner as if thanking the doctor for the gift of life.’
Little Samuel’s mother said they ‘wept for days’ when they saw the picture. She said, ‘The photo reminds us pregnancy isn’t about disability or an illness, it’s about a little person.’Samuel was born in perfect health, the operation 100 percent successful.
For me, there is an utterly stark difference between the surgical procedure described above, and the various surgical procedures involved with the so-called ‘termination’ of a ‘foetus’ (not to mention the social life conditions, and big and tiny decisions leading up to both!!!). The starkness is all the more striking between this one, where the surgeon does restorative surgery on a foetus still in the womb, and one particular procedure that I know of, where the surgeon ‘dismembers’ the foetus while (obviously) still inside the womb. And of course, there are nice, sanitised terms for this procedure, so that would-be mothers do not have to be told that the foetus (or developing baby) inside them is going to be ‘dismembered’ (and please note that descriptions, such as ‘butchered’ or ‘chopped up’ are not ones I’d ever use as they are utterly inflammatory – even though they are perhaps more honest terms than vauge/misleading [even dishonest!?] jargon such as ‘dilation and evacuation‘, which says absolutely nothing about cutting the foetus into pieces before the ‘evacuation’).
Among many other reflections this brings to mind, one is the inability of scientific knowledge (in general; of which ‘foetal developmental knowledge’ or ‘surgical knowledge’ are specific examples) to guide or direct us in any direct way whatsoever as to (shall we say) which way the knife should be wielded.