Saved by surgery in the womb
By John Stonestreet
Did you know that babies can be born again? No, it’s not theology I’m talking about but science, and the implications are enormous.
While in her mother’s womb, Lynlee Boemer developed an exceedingly rare tumor that grows near the tailbone at the base of the spine. According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, the tumor appears in only one out of 30,000 to 70,000 live births.
Now in about half these children, the tumor is harmless. But for the rest, like little Lynlee, the tumors can create stress on their developing hearts. In Lynlee’s case, the tumor had grown as big as her body. Her mother, Margaret, said, “It almost looked like a baby with two heads.” While other specialists recommended an abortion, those at Texas Children’s Fetal Center said there was a chance the child could be saved.
There was no time to lose. “Little Lynlee’s heart showed signs of failing, so we knew that it was urgent,” said Dr. Darrell Cass.
Lynlee was just 24 weeks along and weighed only one pound. During the emergency operation, Cass and another pediatric surgeon made an incision, pulled Lynlee from the uterus, exposing her tiny frame from her legs to her torso.
At one juncture, Lynlee’s heart almost stopped. The doctors resuscitated her, removed the massive tumor, gently placed Lynlee back inside her mother, stitched up the womb, and then waited. Three months later, on June 6, a very healthy Lynlee Boemer was born via C-section.
Margaret Boemer understandably is thrilled. “It was her second birth, basically,” she told a local TV station. Such procedures are becoming more and more commonplace across the country.
Since 1995, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has performed more than 1,400 fetal operations, including one three years ago that saved the life of Tucker Roussin, who at 24 weeks of gestation was diagnosed with intrapericardial teratoma, an extremely rare, rapidly growing tumor in the sac surrounding the heart. Today Tucker is a normal, thriving three-year-old.
Fetal surgeries today—in which the baby is in or out of the uterus—can treat or cure a growing variety of problems, including spina bifida, lung malformations, bowel obstructions, and many other conditions.
Such born-again babies have much to teach us. First, of course, they remind us of the preciousness of every human life and the need to continually improve our medical skills and technology in order to protect them. J. William Gaynor, a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon at Children’s, says, “The pioneering fetal surgery to remove a tumor from a baby’s heart is an incredible breakthrough and an innovation … that can be provided to a family who receives this devastating diagnosis.” Praise God that hope increasingly is available!
Second, they remind us of the double-talk of the so-called “pro-choice” movement. Note that Dr. Gaynor removed a tumor from “a baby’sheart.” But those who support abortion rights often use modern euphemisms such as fetus, clump of cells, or product of conception to disguise the identity of the unborn child. Yet this highly qualified physician, and others like him, call it what it is—a baby!
Third, born-again babies expose the insanity of abortion. Isn’t it ironic that Baby Lynlee could have been aborted without legal consequencebefore her surgery, then would have been protected during the surgery, and then would have been able to be aborted at any time in the three months after the surgery? As I said, this is insane.
Babies in utero who can be dismembered legally up to the very moment before emerging from their mother’s womb can, with a little more thought and care, be brought into God’s world and live a life that glorifies Him. As Mother Teresa said so powerfully, “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”
Friends, thank God for the growing number of born-again babies among us—and let’s redouble our efforts for the cause of life.
To get started, come to BreakPoint.org and join our nationwide prayer effort to end abortion—simply download a free copy of the “21 Days of Prayer for Life.” It’s a great tool for families, individuals, churches and small groups to join the life movement.
Editor’s note. This appeared at Breakpoint [www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/30258].