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THE HAND

A picture began circulating in November. In many people's opinions, it should be proclaimed as "The Picture of the Year," or perhaps, "The Picture of the Decade." The picture is that of a 21-week-old unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas, who is being operated on by a surgeon named Joseph Bruner. The baby was diagnosed with spina bifida and would not survive if removed from the 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. In the procedure, a C-section removes the uterus and the doctor makes a small incision to operate on the baby.


During the surgery on little Samuel, the little guy reached his tiny, but fully developed, hand through the incision and firmly grasped the surgeon's finger. 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 life...." You can see the actual picture, and it is awesome... incredible.

 

 
 Photo: While undergoing spina bifida surgery in utero, 21-week-old fetus Samuel Armas grips the finger of Dr. Joseph Bruner through the incision.


Take a good look at this picture. It's one of the most remarkable photographs ever taken. The tiny hand of a fetus reaches out from a mother's womb to clasp a surgeon's healing finger. It is, by the way, 21 weeks old, an age at which it could still be legally aborted. The tiny hand in the picture above belongs to a baby which is due to be born on December 28. It was taken during an operation in America recently. It is a medical development in the control of the effects of spina bifida ... and on a picture which will reverberate through the on-going abortion debate here. Your first instinct is to recoil in horror. It looks like a close-up of some terrible accident. And then you notice, in the center of the photograph, the tiny hand clutching a surgeon's finger.