Certain Humanity | Shadowdancer Studios

Medical progress is a truly wondrous thing. Before, babies born too early would almost certainly die; but it might surprise most that the first attempts to try keep them alive happened in the 1870s in Paris, after obstetrician Dr. Stéphane Tarnier decided to try using an incubator on human babies to keep them warm and save them from hypothermia after seeing an incubator warming baby chickens. I strongly urge you to read the article I linked. His insistence, and Dr. Couney’s advocacy and medical exhibit – a proof of life demonstration and charitable care – is some truly breath-taking medical history.

Couney never charged parents for the care he provided, which also included rotating shifts of doctors and nurses looking after the babies. According to historian Jeffrey Baker, Couney’s exhibits “offered a standard of technological care not matched in any hospital of the time.”

In a wonderful interview recorded by Storycorps and aired on NPR, a former incubator baby from one of Couney’s exhibits described how fragile she was at birth: “My father said I was so tiny, he could hold me in his hand,” said 95 year-old Lucille Horn, who was born prematurely in 1920 at the shockingly low birth weight of under two pounds. Baby Lucille was given no chance to live by her doctor.

“I couldn’t live on my own, I was too weak to survive … You just died because you didn’t belong in the world.” Horn said. But Horn’s father, who had seen one of Couney’s exhibits on his honeymoon, bundled tiny Lucille up and took her out of the hospital. “I’m taking her to the incubator in Coney Island. The doctor said there’s not a chance in hell that she’ll live, but he said, ‘But she’s alive now,’ and he hailed a cab and took me to Dr. Couney’s exhibit, and that’s where I stayed for about six months.”

Because of those men, babies who would’ve otherwise died didn’t, and their parents were given hope that their tiny baby would live. Medical progress, resulting in life that would otherwise been lost, now taken for granted today. As technology advanced, the earlier and earlier preterm babies could survive, until a baby born at 23-24 weeks could survive now. That ’24 week line was determined by available technology.

Source: Certain Humanity | Shadowdancer Studios

Go read the whole thing; this bit is awesome, but the philosophical lead-in is also very important and good.


I can’t comment there– neither of my browsers use Java– so I’ll post my comment here.

I was amused the first time I was accused of being pro-life because of my religion, because I wasn’t aware my religion <I>had</i> any teachings on abortion. (Yes, our local Catholic education was THAT bad; why would a volunteer want to talk to teens about something tough like abortion when she “knew” we supported it?)
Similar to you– scientifically based. Although mine was from exposure to animals, especially miscarried calves (there’s one plant that if they eat, you get an early second trimester abortion almost 100% of the time in cattle– the science teacher even had one of the calves in a big pickle jar. Absolutely perfect, just no hair….right down to his little tongue sticking out a bit, like they usually are right after birth.)


6 thoughts on “Certain Humanity | Shadowdancer Studios”

  1. Similarly, this should make sense to anyone who’s observed tadpoles growing, or chickens… or well, any other living creature, really.

    What the pro-aborts don’t like is having their comforting lies shattered by science, medicine, fact, and well, even logics and ethics prove that they’re inconsistent in their morals and the basis of which is incredibly shaky to begin with – when someone starts the premise of their argument with a lie, it really isn’t a surprise that the argument doesn’t stay steady.

    One of the screeches I remember reading (feminists angry about lesbians that choose to become mothers) decried the ‘damage’ done to the body of the woman, and the claim that motherhood is idealised and ‘lied about’ – that doctors don’t tell you about the risks. It’s rather revealing that these women have never gotten those informative pregnancy and health pamphlets. There’s a section there about risks, and things to be careful of, like preeclampsia, the muscle wall at the belly separating, and more. Well, at least that’s what I got when I got pregnant in Australia. The doctor is also obliged to discuss individual health risks specific to the individual mother.

    The pro-aborts also like to pretend that medical technology now is ‘as good as it gets’ and that ‘the science is settled’ – or at least imply such. This is ridiculous especially in the light of ongoing discoveries about neonatal development, like if the mother gets sick, the fetus donates stem cells to help heal the mother. A real scientist knows that the science is never settled, and that the knowledge and discoveries we have now are limited entirely by the technology we are currently capable of. The scolds like to declare arbitrary absolutes and then get upset when they’re told they’re wrong. (That’s actually why I ended up writing that essay – a Bernie supporter was scolding me and another person for ‘having favorite right wing dictators’, was upset about the factual reality that Leftist ideologies have body counts in the hundreds of millions (I had one idiot trying to tell me that China is right wing, conservative and have policies more ‘in line with Republicans’) and was trying to claim moral high ground by claiming that the murder of all innocent life is bad. I said “So, I’m glad to hear you’ll be at the nearest pro-life rally near you,” and I got “Abortion isn’t murder”, and the assumptions spread from there, and since the hypocrite in question couldn’t defeat me on logical argument, he went for saying I’m emotional and angry.

    SJWs always lie, they double down, and try to play victim.

    I know we’ve discussed the possibility of artificial wombs elsewhere (Jordan’s blog, I think?) – and while yes, the chance of our being able to remove safely and transplant to a hypothetical artificial womb is nil *at present* who’s to say we will never have that capability? We have in-vitro fertilization now, when barren couples wouldn’t be able to have children before, and indeed, single women have the ability to opt to choose single motherhood by that route. Who is to say that we couldn’t, someday, figure out the complex biochemical working of pregnancy?

    I think the biggest problem the scolds have is that they don’t have anything but contempt and hate for all that is around them. They’d die in pretty short order if someone dropped them into the middle of the Amazon with nothing but a knife. They cannot appreciate nor imagine what it is like to not have all these wonderful advancements in technology and medicine.

    House put it best once, I think. “If only we had giant machines that can see past skin and let us see inside.”

  2. Funny how emotional and angry is great when it’s them….

    I think it’s a bad idea to make kids even more like consumer goods– you’ve heard how that mindset has made for some super horror– but I’d expect artificial wombs to come about kind of backwards; basically just incubators that steadily get more and more elaborate, until the reaction to an outside-the-womb pregnancy is “We must hurry and get her to an incubator, before the Fallopian tube bursts!”

    Same way that kids with Down’s are now expected to make it to adulthood, although “only” into their 50s– when Roy Rodgers and Dale Evans daughter was amazing for making it to being a preschooler. (They figured that if she was going to die so soon anyways, they would not send her to an institution. I think the biggest change is because we can fix heart problems now, but my memory is iffy.)


    My sympathy for dealing with the Bernie supporter. I do wonder if he really thinks China is in line with the Republicans? (I have heard American political folks longing to be like China; they’re Democrats. I’d classsify it as “If I had the One Right, I’d totally….” type stuff.)

    1. Yeah, the artificial womb I imagine will be the technological logical conclusion to more technologically advanced, more biosupportive incubators. Babies prematurely born before 22 weeks will be too small; but I’m imagining an incubator that’s capable of becoming a replacement of the amniotic sac and an artificial umbilical cord. The fluid would be temperature controlled, and perhaps enriched with the necessary nutrients and vitamins and additional hormones to promote lung, and other organ development with some advancement in our knowledge of biochemistry. I mean, it doesn’t sound impossible; and thinking like this is no different from how Dr. Couney advocated that preemie babies should be cared for.

      I mean, I just think of how awesome it would be to have ectopic pregnancies not result in loss of baby? And for a mum who has trouble bringing children to term because of some medical issue? (Though, I think that such would be more easily fixed through addressing the causes of such, and my half-awake theory is it’s based on hormonal and chemical imbalances. Parallel studies.)

      This would also be of interest to countries that have dropping populations. I did think about the ‘commodity child’ angle, but I don’t think the technology will come out of that.

      1. The biggest change I’d add to avoid the Brave New World aspect would be a tiny implant in the woman, about where her womb would be– which would detect the sounds and lights so the artificial womb could mimic them.

      2. I wonder if another implant to mimic the sensations/hormones/etc of having the baby should exist in this speculated future as well, for the mom to feel more… lack of better term… attached? to her baby. ID him or her as ‘her’ baby, y’know?

  3. Oh, btw, I updated that post with some quotes from medical and scientific texts that outright state that the cycle of life begins at fertilization, and some from embryology texts that assert that birth is but part of the stages of life, like infancy/childhood/puberty/adulthood/old age.

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