This is a message to all those people sharing that OMG IT’S A MIRACLE OF LIFE THE HAND OF HOPE photo on facespace.
For a start, it’s not true. Read the snopes link. The Good Doctor himself has denied this version of events, saying that since the baby was under anaesthetic, it couldn’t even move let alone reach a tiny little hand out to grasp his finger to thank him for considering his life worth saving - as if a fetus could possibly have the intellectual capacity to comprehend any of that.
Secondly, this is little more than propaganda used by the anti choice movement to try and support the idea that life - cognisant life - begins at conception. In fact, foetal brains only begin to distinguish between sounds at 22 weeks, indicating that at 21 weeks (the age of the foetus in question) the ability to rationalise society’s view of disability and be grateful for a chance to challenge that view hasn’t quite ironed itself out yet.
Thirdly, this note has had more than 63,000 shares at last count. That’s more than 63,000 people who demonstrated they were willing to take at face value a story attached to a photograph with no supporting evidence whatsover other than the word of a 19 year old male living in South Carolina who no doubt found the photograph on the internet and started rehashing a story that’s been around since 2000.
What this person didn’t mention in their note was that Michael Clancy, the photographer whose own website carries a disclaimer stating that this story is simply his interpretation, now works as a “motivational speaker at pro-life events”.
It also doesn’t mention the fact that Dr. Joseph Bruner was quoted in an article in 2000 for the Tennessean entirely discrediting this version. (Article not found online, but quoted in other sources such as this piece from Fox). Bruner has specifically stated that people who won’t accept his account are doing so for political purposes.
It doesn’t mention that this photograph was used as evidence to pass the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act in the US in 2003 - an act that threatens surgeons who perform abortions on women between weeks 15 and 26 of pregnancy with the risk of jail time - and that this is just one of the ways in which women’s reproductive rights in America are being eroded.
There’s no doubt that it makes for a stunning photograph. But the accompanying story isn’t just misleading, it’s downright false. Every person who shares it is contributing to this falsehood and helping to turn a dangerous fiction into an even more dangerous truth.
If you’re tired of seeing that crap pop up on your newsfeed, then share this back so that there are at least SOME facts making the rounds.