The Photo That Shocked The Nation
There has never been a better time in the history of the world for a person with a disability to be alive, yet, tragically, the vast majority of babies diagnosed in the womb with a disability are aborted. Why are these babies not given a chance at life? Expectant parents and doctors have been convinced that children will have a “poor quality of life”, and rather than pursuing medical treatments and options, doctors recommend abortion as a solution. It is stunning that in 21st Century America, where modern medicine can grow new limbs and cure once incurable diseases, doctors and medical professionals too quickly turn to abortion as a resolution to a prenatal diagnosis of disability.
Thankfully, there are parents who refuse to accept abortion as a solution. In 1999, Julie and Alex Armas received the diagnosis that their preborn baby, Samuel, had Spina Bifida. However, Julie and Alex decided to fight for their son’s life. They qualified for an experimental pre-natal surgery at Vanderbilt University Hospital. At 21 weeks, Samuel was operated on in utero. That day there was a photographer was in the operating room, taking photos for a USA Today piece on pre-natal surgeries. The photo that was used in the spread sent shock waves around the world, and was dubbed “the Hand of Hope.”
When Samuel was born, the doctors and nurses were blown away by how well he did. It’s amazing what the love and persistence of parents who refuse to accept abortion as a solution can do. Today, Samuel is fifteen years old. His quality of life is anything but low.
Five years after Samuel’s very successful surgery, Julie Armas was pregnant with her third son, and again received a diagnosis of Spina Bifida. When Julie and Alex sought the same beneficial treatment that Samuel received, they were refused the surgery. Julie described the irony of the abortion culture: “I could choose to end his life, but I couldn’t choose to have a surgery that I had already experienced, that I knew would benefit him.” How tragic.
October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month, as well as Down Syndrome Awareness Month. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it also happens to be the middle of a 40 Days for Life Campaign. It is time to move away from the attitude that babies diagnosed with disabilities are disposable. Society should no longer accept abortion as a solution for ending disabilities. Abortion can never be a solution, because abortion can only destroy. America, we can do better.
Watch the Armas Family’s Story here [130:00].