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Baby Samuel’s mother recounts the ‘joy of knowing this child’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Miracle baby Samuel Armas celebrated his first birthday on Dec. 2, 2000. Samuel was the subject of the “most amazing photograph of the 20th century.” The image of Samuel’s tiny hand reaching out of his mother’s womb and grasping the finger of physician Joseph Bruner rocked the world in September 1999. The previous month, Bruner and a team at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., had operated on Samuel while he was still in his mother’s womb to repair a spina bifida lesion on his spine.

At the time, Samuel was 21 weeks old, the typical age at which abortionists use forceps to draw a fetus feet-first into its mother’s birth canal for a partial-birth abortion. In the procedure, the skull remains in the uterus, then is pierced or crushed and the contents are suctioned out.

Until the photo of baby Samuel, pro-choice groups had maintained that a fetus at this age was little more than a not-yet-human “blob.” But Samuel proved them wrong.

Samuel’s parents, Alex and Julie, had known, of course, that abortion was a legal alternative. Fortunately for Samuel, they didn’t even consider it. “We have always believed life begins at conception, and we never wavered, not even when it was actually our decision to make, and not mere words that we say,” Julie explained. “My husband’s first words after we received the news were, ‘Well, we wanted a baby and this is the one God has chosen to give us.'”

Although Vanderbilt had performed previous fetal surgeries, Samuel was the youngest ever to undergo such an operation. The risky surgery was a resounding success, and Samuel was born on Dec. 2, 1999, weighing 5 pounds, 11 ounces.

In an e-mail to AFA Journal of the American Family Association, Julie Armas provided an update on Samuel as he was approaching his first birthday:

“Samuel continues to do well. He weighed 20 lbs. 12 oz. on Nov. 27. He wears lower leg braces and twister straps to keep his ankles from turning in. He is pulling up to furniture and can stand holding on to something for several minutes. At our last spina bifida clinic appointment, the orthopedist said he believes Samuel will walk well, and even run! Also, Samuel has never developed hydrocephalus, and the brain malformation seen prenatally appears to have reversed following the fetal surgery. He is, of course, the cutest thing you have ever seen!

“On Thanksgiving, I was making breakfast and my heart and tears started overflowing with praise to God for his goodness in general, but especially where my precious angel was concerned. Most of all, I am thankful to him for allowing me to be born into a home where I was given the Christian heritage and values that would not allow me to make a ‘choice’ that would have denied me the sheer joy of knowing this child. Furthermore, he gave me the dearest, sweetest husband who not only supported my decision but makes it clear every day through his actions that he believes Samuel is perfect in every way. We have been so blessed. Praise be to GOD!”
Centner is a staff writer for the AFA Journal, a monthly publication of the American Family Association. Used by permission. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: ARMAS FAMILY.

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  • Pat Centner