The Miracle of Life

May 14th, 2009

As I’ve said before, I support freedom of choice on abortion, within the framework specified in Roe v. Wade.  I take that position primarily because it seems to be the most reasonable approach to a problem fraught with moral and legal complexity. 

Now and then there are cases that truly tug at your heartstrings regardless of your views on abortion rights.  Such a case is the story of a young boy named Samuel Armas, told in a wonderful post at Wind Rose Hotel.  The post begins:

Samuel Armas is a child who had the singular privilege of gaining worldwide notoriety before being born, on December 2, 1999. In fact he was shown in a famous photo taken on August 19 of the same year by Michael Clancy during a very delicate surgical procedure aimed to fix Samuel’s spina bifida lesion. In that picture he seemed to grasp his surgeon’s hand from a hole in his mother’s uterus. As a result of the operation, Samuel was blessed to be born healthy. Now he is nine years-old, and is a good swimmer who enjoys competing—last weekend he came first in a 25-yard backstroke event!

Read the post and look at the remarkable photo.  You’ll brush away a tear or two.


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11 Responses to “The Miracle of Life”



  1. Larry |

    What an excellent and beautiful salute to life!!
    Seems that Tom and Harvey have managed to hit on subjects I hold dear. Harvey on prayer yesterday and Tom on life today.
    I am a “die-hard” Right to Life supporter. I mourn the millions of children that we will never see play in the summer sun nor will we hear them laugh and giggle at Christmas.
    Tom, I doubt that you intended your article to be the lead in to an abortion debate so I’ll not go any farther in that direction.


  2. rob |

    Thank you, Tom!


  3. John Q |

    That’s really a great post at Wind Rose Hotel. You were right, it did give me a couple of tears, and that does not happen very often.

    I am a Democrat and Catholic. Probably because my family is very pro union and very Catholic. I’m not very good at either of them, I guess, but I do have my own beliefs. I am pro-life. I dont care when life begins or what the constitution says or what the Supreme Court says. What is wrong is wrong, plain and simple. Abortion is wrong.

    When I look at that beautiful child and think about if his mother had decided to have an abortion instead of the surgery he just would not exist now. That’s the same as if somebody murdered him today. As a Catholic I know abortion is a mortal sin. As a human being I know its just wrong.


  4. Harvey |

    Like Tom, I am also an avid supporter of freedom of choice on abortion; but choice also means the choice NOT to abort — the choice Samuel’s mother made. I want the world filled with children — I love children — but I don’t want a world where Samuel’s mother did not have a choice.

    The vast majority of us who support “choice” are not happy when a woman aborts, we get no joy from that; all we get is the satisfaction of knowing that it was a woman and her doctor who made the choice — not some government, not some organization, not some church! There has to be a line drawn where everything on one side of the line is untouchable — your own control of your own body is a good place for that line.


  5. Tom |

    Harvey, I have to respectfully take exception to the use of the word “avid” to describe my position on abortion rights. I arrived at a pro-choice position very reluctantly. However, given the moral, political, and public policy complexities involved, I can’t support any other position.

    Bill Clinton may not have been the first to say it, but I first heard it from him. I agree with him that abortion should be legal, safe, and rare.


  6. Atomic Lib Smasher |

    The Supreme Court, if you’d look at it Constitutionally, shouldn’t have even been in place. Read up on the 10th Amendment sometime


  7. Pdon |

    People who abort* are usually selfish or foolish people. The cheapest and most effective contraception is abstainance, to use another person and play god with the consequences citing “rights” is ignorant of all social responsibility – it is the flag of carelessness and disrespect for life.

    *With the exception being cases of force/duress


  8. Tom |

    Pdon, abstinence is undoubtedly the cheapest and most effective form of contraception. However, we live in the real world, and we have to deal with that fact. People who don’t practice abstinence perfectly, not to mention those who don’t practice it at all, are going to sometimes end up with unwanted pregnancies. Abortions will happen. They will either be illegal and very dangerous, producing a new crop of criminals and lots of serious injuries and deaths, or they will be performed as a matter of informed choice, legally and safely.

    Roe v. Wade is a poor decision and makes bad law, as many eminent constitutional scholars have noted. However, the rough trimester system outlined in Section XI of the decision, which still guides our law on abortion, is a reasonable framework.


  9. Pdon |

    Tom, the argument that “abortions will happen anyway, ergo they should be legalized and regulated so as they can be carried out legally & Safely” could be easily mirrored into areas such as: “Drug use will happen anyway ergo they should be legalized and regulated so as they can be carried out legally & Safely” — “Theft will happen anyway ergo it should be legalized so no one is hurt when robberies happen”, “People will practice underage intercourse ergo it should be legalized to cultivate cultural change wherein treatment of any consequences can be aired in public without feelings of guilt…” etc.

    Abortion comes down to the question about one human deciding the life of another. A moral question – if someone is drowning and another person (who can swim) can save them, are they obliged to do it? If omission leading to anothers death is unnacceptable, how can active pursuit of death be regarded as morally decent?


  10. Tom |

    Pdon, the examples you use in the first paragraph of your comment go from the practical to the ridiculous. On abortion, that’s logical. On drugs, that’s mostly good logic. On theft, etc, you go off the deep end.

    Your second paragraph is absolutely correct. Abortion and obligations to save (or just help) our fellow human beings go to fundamental ethical issues. Many people don’t like this, but ethics and morality are personal and situational. For virtually any basic question of right and wrong, there will be a “but” in the answer. Example: Is it wrong to kill another person? Yes, but not if that person is trying to kill you or someone else.

    For those whose position on abortion is determined by thought and reflection rather than a jerking knee, abortion is one of the hardest of moral questions. For many, it comes down to the question of when life begins. If an abortion occurs before life has begun, then it’s no more immoral than removing a tumor or a wart. For those who believe that live begins at conception, as Catholics must believe if they are really Catholics, abortion is murder, nothing less.

    What I can’t abide is the hypocrisy many people bring to the issue of abortion. As a matter of doctrine and principle, a Catholic cannot be pro-choice. Politicians who pretend to be both are particularly odious; examples include Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry.


  11. Pdon |

    The analogy of removing a tumor does seem to ignore the idea for the potentiality of life – Just because something is not alive yet, or may not survive a certain treatment, does that qualify it as being as worthless as a tumor or a wart?

    The potential for life encapsulates many things, including controversial notions of contraception – is it right to deny the potentiality for life to something not yet alive? All the way through to people with “terminal” illness who have little or no chance of survival – if a person has terminal cancer does it make the termination of their life moral (directly), does it make the indirect withdrawel of treatment to them, “because it would just prolong it” – moral?

    It boils down to an issue of ones own stance in regards to humanity, does one feel that they are a servant to the world, or that the world is a servant to them?

    These moral issues are very individual and subjective, and as such untill large-stream consensus are arrived at, wanton legislation on the matters could be seen as intervening into others life – as such I am pro-choice, but would regard it as immoral.


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