You will remember Nadine Dorries MP, anti-abortion campaigner. She was heavily involved in promoting those dubious pre-term survival figures which were presented to the Science and Technology Select Committe enquiry, and when I wrote about those dodgy figures, she accused me of bad behaviour, and demanded a formal enquiry into whether there had been leaks and a breach of parliamentary procedure.
In fact I had written my critique of the figures using the publicly available PDF document which records the Committee’s proceedings. I suppose some people might need a bit of time to catch up with idea of open government: the political bloggers fell into hugely amusing spasms of delight, while Nadine switched off comments on her blog.
Nadine says this:
This picture show a pregnant uterus laying on the exterior of the mother’s abdomen, having been lifted out of her abdominal cavity, via a c-section incision made in the abdominal wall.
Dr Joseph Bruner performed this procedure in order to operate on the baby whilst still in utero before it was born. The baby had spina bifida and would not have survived if removed from his mother’s womb.
When the operation was over, baby Samuel, at 21 weeks gestation, put his hand through the incision in the uterus and grabbed hold of the surgeon’s finger, a gesture which was apparently met with a huge amount of emotion in the operating theatre.
Dr Bruner said that it was the most emotional moment of his life and that for a moment he was just frozen, totally immobile.
In the UK we are aborting babies just like this and older every single day.
There are union funded organisations such as ‘Voice for Choice’ that campaign and fight to maintain the right to abort babies like Samuel.
There are organisations such as the BMA who vote and endorse the right to continue to do this.
There are organisations which are paid for by the government, such as BPAS, who argue the right to keep aborting babies Samuel’s age and older.
Little Samuel made his case from within the womb in a way which none of the shrill late abortionists will ever manage.
There are two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. (Albert Einstein)
In fact it seems this is a myth propagated over email and through fabulous Christian websites.
Dr Joseph Bruner – the surgeon himself – tells a rather different story.
“It has become an urban legend,” says Bruner, the Vanderbilt University surgeon who fixed the spina bifida lesion on Samuel.
Some opponents of abortion have claimed that the baby reached through the womb and grabbed the doctor’s hand.
Not true, Bruner says.
Samuel and his mother, Julie, were under anesthesia and could not move.
“The baby did not reach out,” Bruner says. “The baby was anesthetized. The baby was not aware of what was going on.”
["Hand of a Fetus Touched the World." USA Today. 2 May 2000 (p. D8)]
Dr. Joseph P. Bruner stated, “Depending on your political point of view, this is either Samuel Armas reaching out of the uterus and touching the finger of a fellow human, or it’s me pulling his hand out of the uterus … which is what I did.”
[ "Photo of fetal surgery still stirs emotion." The Tennessean Newspaper January 9th, 2000]
I am also very happy to link, in the name of transparency and thoroughness, to here, where the photographer disputes Dr Bruner’s account of his own surgical operation on an anaesthetised patient.
Brilliantly, Dorries has now responded to this hoax being revealed, on her blog-with-no-comments.
She can explain everything. Apparently the baby definitely pushed its way out of the uterus, despite what the surgeon himself says, and you can tell by looking at the photograph:
…look at the tear in the uterus. See how jiggered it is just above the hand; and yet the rest of the surgically incised openings are controlled and neat.
This is, in all likelihood, because the hand unexpectedly thrust out. It would be a poor surgeon who allowed the uterine tear to be so messy, and this is no ‘poor’ surgeon.
My recollection, from assisting in many Caesarean deliveries in my earlier years, is that instead of making a big clean cut into the uterus (not a good idea for obvious reasons ie there’s a baby in there) you make repeated shallow superficial incisions into the uterus, between which you spread the tissues by hand with your fingers, until it eventually (and satisfyingly, surgery’s great fun) opens up.
She’s also very keen on the photographer’s account. Which I linked to above. As I said, it’s up to you whether you prefer the account of the photographer, or the surgon who does these operations for a living, and may know rather more about the subject.
Anyway, according to Nadine Dorries, apparently the surgeon was got at too:
He is a surgeon, however, who is reported as saying the movement of the hand was ‘controlled’, that he was operating on the hand and the baby was anesthetised.
Why would he say that? The pro-choice and pro-life lobbies in America are far more vociferous, and unfortunately violent, than they are in the UK; and one can only guess his reasons.