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An Update on Samuel Armas "The Hand of Hope"
National Right to Life News ^ | 10-31-03 | Jonathan Imbody

Posted on 10/31/2003 6:53:55 PM PST by cpforlife.org

"The Hand That Touched The World" Nearly Four Years Later

It was the "hand of hope," a photo of an unborn baby's hand, that made its way around the world within days of appearing in USA Today. Taken by Michael Clancy, the color photo showed Samuel's tiny hand grasping a surgeon's finger during in utero surgery. See story, page 9 about Samuel's visit to a Senate Committee hearing. Photo above by John Imbody

A Flash of Life

Special to NRL News by Jonathan Imbody

Flashing an impish grin, three-year-old Samuel Armas quickly ducked behind a chair as a photographer tried to capture his picture at a recent Senate hearing in Washington, D.C. Samuel hadn't seemed quite so shy during his first photographic session. A photo of his tiny hand, grasping a surgeon's finger during in utero surgery, traveled around the globe and stunned a world that had tried to hide its face from the reality of life in the womb. (The photo can be viewed at www.michaelclancy.com.)

Samuel's parents, Alex and Julie Armas of Villa Rica, Georgia, testified September 25 before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space about the photo and their experience with in utero surgery. They were joined at the hearing by Dr. James Thorp, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the University of Florida Pensacola, and by Michael Clancy, the photographer who captured Samuel's awe-inspiring grasp.

Dr. Thorp testified that in utero surgery, while still in the experimental stages and posing significant risks, offers incredible promise to parents of unborn children with birth defects. Alex and Julie explained that their surgery, initiated to treat spina bifida, remarkably changed the course of Samuel's life and of their own lives.

Alex testified, "Today, Samuel is nearly four years old and has not had to endure the surgeries that are common for most children with spina bifida. He's walking with leg braces, is cognitively normal, and loves looking for bugs."

Sitting behind his father who was testifying, Samuel wore a tee shirt displaying a few of those bugs. Committee chairman Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Ks.), himself the father of five children, called Samuel up to join his parents at the witness table for a few questions. He pointed to the large-scale version of the photograph and asked if Samuel knew what it was.

"Baby Samuel."

Asked what the doctors had done that day, three-year-old Samuel succinctly summarized the sophis-ticated surgery: "They fixed my boo-boo."

Julie recalled in her testimony the moment they heard the results of the pre-natal tests that revealed Samuel's "boo-boo."

"The first words my doctor said were, 'This is really bad.'"

In his testimony, Alex noted, "We were devastated. It's every parent's worst nightmare to learn that something is very wrong with your child. The doctor painted a grim picture for us and stopped just short of suggesting an abortion."

As Alex explained to NRL News after the hearing, "Our view was that after years of trying to conceive, this was the baby God chose to give us. Julie and I are both Christians. Scripture is clear on the sanctity of life in the womb, so ending the pregnancy was never an option for us."

Spina bifida, a sometimes fatal and typically severe brain and spinal cord anomaly, results from the spine failing to close properly during the first month of pregnancy. If the baby survives, spina bifida often leaves debilitating defects including accumulation of fluid in the brain (hydrocephalus), and a host of devastating secondary conditions.

Julie, an obstetrics nurse, decided after hearing the diagnosis to research treatments and discovered a pioneering program of maternal-fetal (in utero) surgery for spina bifida at Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Center. After intensive consultations with the medical staff, Julie and Alex not only gave the go-ahead for sur-gery on 21-week-old Samuel; they also agreed to let USA Today photograph the event as a way to increase awareness of the new procedure.

USA Today assigned photojournalist Michael Clancy to capture the surgery on film. Michael had no idea that the shoot would change his life forever.

As he explained to NRL News, "Before the picture, I felt that as a man I could never be pregnant and alone, so it wasn't for me to decide whether abortion was right or wrong. I was indifferent."

Michael described for the Senate hearing the details of his experience during the surgery:

"The tension could be felt in the operating room as the surgery began. The procedure would take place within the uterus, and no part of the child was to breach the surgical opening. The entire surgical procedure on the child was completed in one hour and 13 minutes. When it was over, the surgical team breathed a sigh of relief, as did I.

"As a doctor asked me what speed film I was using, out of the corner of my eye I saw the uterus shake, but no one's hands were near it. It was shaking from within.

"Suddenly, an entire arm thrust out of the opening, then pulled back until just a little hand was showing. The doctor reached over and lifted the hand, which reacted and squeezed the doctor's finger.

"As if testing for strength, the doctor shook the tiny fist. Samuel held firm. I took the picture. Wow!"

When the USA Today photo editor later phoned Michael to confirm its publication, the editor declared, "It's the most incredible picture I've ever seen." The photo appeared in the newspaper in September 2000 and spread at warp speed across the globe - - leading USA Today to subsequently refer to it as the "hand of a fetus [that] touched the world."

Meanwhile, Samuel's surgery had delivered the results for which his parents had hoped and prayed.

"Immediately after surgery," Alex recalls, "the hydrocephalus stopped progressing and started to slowly decrease." By the time Samuel was born, 15 weeks later, his brain malformation had reversed and the hydrocephalus had mostly disappeared.

Alex and Julie shared with NRL News the impact the surgery and photo have had on their own lives.

"The combined trials of infertility followed by Samuel's spina bifida and fetal surgery made for a roller coaster ride that dramatically matured our marriage and each of us individually," Alex confided. "We've experienced God's hand at work in two ways. First, Samuel clearly benefited from the surgery, and we're thankful for his progress and the absence of many problems that typically accompany children with spina bifida.

"Second, we're humbled by God's use of the hand-photo as a ministry. The article and photo were shown all over the world and have been used extensively by pro-life and Christian organizations to illustrate life inside the womb."

Since the publishing of Samuel's "hand of hope," images recently published in Britain of the "smiling fetus" - - a remarkable image captured by a new ultrasound scanning machine - - are again challenging the world to open its eyes to the wonder and reality of nascent human life. The stunningly detailed four-dimensional images reveal developing babies smiling, blinking, sucking their fingers, scratching their noses, hiccupping, and crying.

As Sen. Brownback observed during the hearing, "There is little debate about whether the child in utero is alive; the debate is over whether or not the child is a life worthy of protection." By bearing witness to the divinely knit wonders within the womb, extraordinary scientific technology is challenging many to reconsider that question.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: catholiclist; fetalsurgery; nrlc; prolife; samuelarmas
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To: cpforlife.org

Thank you for the return bump ... Senator Brownback has the floor: "As Sen. Brownback observed during the hearing, "There is little debate about whether the child in utero is alive; the debate is over whether or not the child is a life worthy of protection." And therein is the tale of our dying nation, too many have made the 'god-like' choice that they know something contrary to the Creator's mind and have a right to spit in God's face with the abortion slaughter. May God have mercy upon US, we deserve His wrath.


41 posted on 08/26/2005 3:55:28 AM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: cpforlife.org

Bruner's deception fits the MSM template for defending and 'normalizing' abortion slaughter, hence Bruner's arrogant stance will be promoted as fact and none of the reasons for him deceiving will be questioned. Wouldn't want to be Bruner one minute after his death.


42 posted on 08/26/2005 4:09:14 AM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: NYer
Wrongful Life
43 posted on 08/26/2005 4:50:15 AM PDT by Cincinnatus
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To: cpforlife.org

Thank you very very much for your great post. God bless you.


44 posted on 08/26/2005 7:40:18 AM PDT by Thomas for life
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To: Mr. Silverback

Mr. Silverback, you don't happen to have the "smiling fetus" photo do you? I haven't seen it.


45 posted on 08/26/2005 7:50:47 AM PDT by tuckrdout (The good man wins his case by careful argument; the evil-minded only wants to fight. Prov. 13:2)
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To: Mr. Silverback
Here is the "smiling fetus" I found it:


46 posted on 08/26/2005 8:23:50 AM PDT by tuckrdout (The good man wins his case by careful argument; the evil-minded only wants to fight. Prov. 13:2)
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To: Salvation

Bump!

Wouldn't it be ironic if the same technology (medicine) that made abortions possible, would make such a "choice" unappealing to anyone with a heart.


47 posted on 08/26/2005 8:35:41 AM PDT by FourtySeven (47)
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To: fatima; NYer; Salvation; LUV W
-----------------------------------------------------------"My dear Samuel I am far far far away; I am sending you this massage of you to be faithful to a Lord and from me is this pictures; sometimes when you lonely and sad look upon them for these will give you hope; in fore live in peace and at the end; or fore you will be filled with love from above." ----------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BE STRONG SAMUEL BE STRONG GOD G-D DO WILL HELP YOU thank you all






48 posted on 08/26/2005 11:37:20 AM PDT by anonymoussierra (Nie bądź pochopny w duchu do gniewu, bo gniew przebywa w piersi głupców)
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To: 2nd amendment mama

Amen!


49 posted on 08/26/2005 1:32:47 PM PDT by LUV W (A BAD DAY FOR THE DIMS IS A GOOD DAY FOR THE COUNTRY!!!!!! GET CINDY OUTTA CRAWFORD!)
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.


50 posted on 09/02/2005 10:38:32 AM PDT by firewalk
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To: cpforlife.org

As Sen. Brownback observed during the hearing, "There is little debate about whether the child in utero is alive; the debate is over whether or not the child is a life worthy of protection."


51 posted on 04/06/2006 8:45:52 PM PDT by victim soul
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A Freeper search on 6-15-06 yielded these results for this thread: 110,558+ views. That IS inspiring.

An Update on Samuel Armas "The Hand of Hope"
  Posted by cpforlife.org
On News/Activism 10/31/2003 8:53:55 PM CST · 50 replies · 110,558+ views


52 posted on 06/15/2006 4:29:51 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (A Catholic Respect Life Curriculum is available at KnightsForLife.org)
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To: MHGinTN; Coleus; nickcarraway; narses; Mr. Silverback; Canticle_of_Deborah; ...

Our good friend Coleus recently pointed out to me the number of views this thread has. Only 110,558+ views as of today per post 52.


53 posted on 06/15/2006 4:55:12 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (A Catholic Respect Life Curriculum is available at KnightsForLife.org)
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To: cpforlife.org; Coleus

God is so good!


54 posted on 06/15/2006 7:30:00 AM PDT by hocndoc (http://www.lifeethics.org/www.lifeethics.org/index.html)
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To: hocndoc
And clearly, as Lazamataz has stated before, Free Republic is a force to be reckoned with! FR provides something so precious to the American people (and the world, for that matter) ... the Truth our lame-stream media will not allow through their venues.
55 posted on 06/15/2006 7:35:43 AM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: cpforlife.org; Caleb1411

BUMP


56 posted on 06/15/2006 10:29:17 AM PDT by rhema ("Break the conventions, keep the commandments." -- G. K. Chesterton)
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To: Jim Robinson

Jim,

This thread has 110,558+ views. Is that some sort of a record?

Thanks,

Kevin


57 posted on 06/15/2006 2:55:10 PM PDT by cpforlife.org (A Catholic Respect Life Curriculum is available at KnightsForLife.org)
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To: hocndoc; Coleus; MHGinTN; Jim Robinson
God is so good!

Can not be said often enough, Doctor.

And yes Marvin, FR is a powerful beacon, a great contributor to Reagan's vision of a shining city upon a hill.

Many thanks to you and your family, Jim.
58 posted on 06/15/2006 3:07:45 PM PDT by cpforlife.org (A Catholic Respect Life Curriculum is available at KnightsForLife.org)
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To: cpforlife.org

I can tell you one thing, it's a record for any pro-life thread on the FR which averages about 500 views.


59 posted on 06/15/2006 3:35:45 PM PDT by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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To: Coleus

Yep,

I googled "Samuel Armas" and this was first, the sourced NRLC article was 5th IIRC.

I need to see if there's any more recent news on the boy.


60 posted on 06/15/2006 3:47:17 PM PDT by cpforlife.org (A Catholic Respect Life Curriculum is available at KnightsForLife.org)
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