HLI URGES BABY SAMUEL’S DOCTOR:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HUMAN LIFE INTERNATIONAL News Release HLI World Headquarters 4 Family Life Front Royal, Virginia 22630 www.hli.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Andy Blom February 28, 2000 PH: 540-622-5204 Anne DeLong PH: 540-622-5218 HLI URGES BABY SAMUEL’S DOCTOR: USE YOUR GIFTS FOR LIFE! FRONT ROYAL, VA - Fr. Richard Welch, CSSR, JCD, President of Human Life International, encouraged Dr. Joseph Bruner, the fetal surgeon who operated on Baby Samuel, the preborn child with spina bifida who was photographed holding onto his doctor’s hand outside of the womb, to “join the ranks of the many members in the medical profession who defend life from conception to natural death.” At fourteen weeks of conception, ultrasound tests revealed that pre-born baby Samuel Alexander Armas was found to have the most serious form of spina bifida, which indicated certain mental and physical impairments. His parents, Julie and Alexander Armas, searched for ways to help their child instead of aborting him. They turned to the Vanderbilt University Hospital’s Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy Division in Tennessee. On August 19, 1999, at twenty-one weeks of conception, Baby Samuel underwent surgery with Dr. Joseph Bruner as the lead surgeon: the womb was removed, the uterus cut open, and the baby turned around in order to operate on his spine. During the operation, Dr. Bruner’s finger held Baby Samuel’s hand, who in turn clutched it with his five tiny fingers. Michael Clancy, a free-lance photographer, took the now famous photograph that has circulated the world. The parents report that Baby Samuel, born on December 2, 1999, is doing very well. Recently Dr. Bruner made some startling comments. He said that the famous photograph of the fetal surgeon and the pre-born child holding hands did not have much significance for him: “Depending on your political point of view, this is either Samuel…reaching out of the uterus and touching the finger of a fellow human being, or it’s me pulling his hand out of the uterus, which is what I did.” Bruner has admitted that he aborts babies with spina bifida at the women’s request, which is, in his words: “an increasingly difficult position to be in,” because “it is difficult to justify an operation that could also take…life away.” He described it as a “walk through a mine field” and that “society is going to have to take a good, hard look at itself because it is untenable to hold both views.” “I sincerely congratulate Dr. Joseph Bruner and his medical team for helping pre-born children with groundbreaking surgery,” said Father Welch. “At the same time, I respectfully ask Dr. Bruner to take that ‘good, hard look’ at himself and say ‘no more abortions.’ Society changes when people change.” Father Welch cited the example of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the New York obstetrician who founded NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) and participated in thousands of abortions, and who said in his autobiography, The Hand of God, that medical ultrasound technology led to his conversion, by leading him “to really see the human fetus, measure it, observe it, watch it, and indeed bond with it and love it. I began to do that…. I found myself bonding with the unborn.” -MORE- February 28, 2000 2-2-2-2 Father Welch addressed Dr. Bruner with the following words: “You have enormous skill and now you are very close to embracing the truth. I encourage you to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Nathanson and like him, defend life.” Michael Clancy, the free-lance photographer who took the famous picture, has admitted that the experience “was amazing” and that “it has made a pro-lifer out of me.” Father Welch added, “Michael Clancy’s testimony serves to sharpen the abortion debate. The media could not silence Michael Clancy.” “Here lies the contrast: the doctor who only sees a fetus and the journalist and photographer who sees a child.” Founded in 1981, Human Life International is the world’s largest pro-life and pro-family educational apostolate, with chapters in the United States and a network of international branches and affiliates serving 90 countries. -30-
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