The Cleveland Clinic announced today that it successfully completed its first in utero operation to repair spina bifida in an unborn child. The surgery involves a spectacular combination of advanced technology and surgical skill:
During the fetal repair surgery, a caesarean section-like incision is made and the mother’s uterus is exposed. An ultrasound is then used to locate the placenta and fetus. The uterus is opened 4.5 cm and the back of the fetus is exposed, showing the spina bifida lesion. The surgeons then carefully suture several individual layers of tissue (myofascia, dura and skin) in order to cover the defect. After the uterus is closed back up, the fetus remains in the womb for the remainder of the pregnancy and is ultimately born by caesarean section.
This procedure is not unprecedented — the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh had its own first-ever surgery of this kind several months ago — but it is part of a relatively new and burgeoning branch of medicine. Fetal surgery was first performed in the early 80’s, and it has expanded and become more common in recent years as technology has rapidly improved. Today, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s website, a host of conditions can be treated with fetal surgery, including:
-Amniotic band syndrome
-Bronchopulmonary sequestration of the lung
-Congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation of the lung (CCAM)
-Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH)
-Congenital high airway obstruction syndrome (CHAOS)
-Intrauterine transfusion (IUT)
-Lower urinary tract obstruction (LUTO)
-Spina bifida (myelomeningocele)
-Twin reversed arterial perfusion sequence (TRAP sequence)
-Twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS)
More are added to the list every year. Meanwhile, technological advancements have precipitously lowered the age of “viability” for an unborn child. A couple of years ago, a baby was born at 21 weeks and lived. She is now a toddler in good health. An extremely premature birth used to be a certain death sentence. Today babies born before the third trimester routinely survive. And there is no reason to think that we have reached the limit. Eventually, there will be no such thing as a non-viable gestational age.
This is all quite awe-inspiring and wonderful — unless you are pro-abortion. These revolutions in medical technology are rendering the case for abortion more obsolete by the minute. Things have been tracking this way ever since the development of fetal ultrasounds, which gave us a window into the womb and revealed that the little human inside the uterus is indeed a little human. The introduction of fetal surgery yet again affirms this truth. Doctors would not be able to treat spina bifida in a clump of cells. They would not be able to repair birth defects in an inhuman mass of material. They can only conduct these delicate and complicated procedures because the patients are living human beings.
The claim that abortion is “necessary” has also suffered devastating blows. Of course, even without these medical marvels, it could never really be “necessary” to directly kill an innocent and defenseless human being. That is all the more the case now that any number of fetal defects and abnormalities can be treated. “Health of the mother” justifications are even less relevant, as women who experience catastrophic medical complications at any point from the middle of the second trimester onward can deliver and give both themselves and their children a chance to survive.
This is the position in which pro-aborts find themselves: rooting against life-saving scientific advancements. And this from the “compassionate,” “pro-science” side of the aisle.