While little Samuel Armas was still in his mother's womb, he was found to have spina bifida, a disabling birth defect affecting one or two of every 1000 babies.
Dr Joseph P Bruner, director of foetal diagnosis and treatment at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, was prepared to operate on Samuel's mother, and Samuel, in an attempt to alleviate the effects of his spina bifida. 21 weeks after he was conceived, Samuel and his mother underwent a one-hour medical procedure in which his mother's uterus was removed from her body, the amniotic fluid drained, surgery performed on his tiny body, then the uterus replaced. Three months later, he was born with many of his defects cured.
A freelance photographer, Michael Clancy, was present at the operation. As he witnessed the procedure, his respect for the sanctity of human life was ignited. He said later that watching Samuel being operated on "made a pro-lifer out of me". (Washington Update, 24/2/00) He hadn't realised at the time that it is legal in the United States to kill babies at the same stage of development as Samuel was, and even later, including the infamous partial-birth abortions.
The picture on the left clearly shows that Samuel is alive, as he grips the surgeon's finger.
A US media reporter Matt Drudge, who has a show on the Fox network, wanted to broadcast the picture but was prevented from doing so by the president of Fox News. It doesn't makes sense, does it. This is news, worthy of telling the world! It is the sort of news that fills the heart with hope regardless of what you believe about God, abortion or law reform. This is a story about preserving life, and it is hope-inspiring for millions of people. But there are dark forces at work in our world, and though I don't want to say too much on this page, because it is Samuel's page, I do want to write more about that later.
Here is a letter, written by Samuel's parents after he was born:
Dear friends and