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Groundbreaking In-the-Womb Photos Now Improved and Republished

LifeSiteNews.com
LifeSiteNews.com

By Peter J. Smith

LONDON, October 15, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A picture may be worth a thousand words, but for more than fifty years Lennart Nilsson has taken photographs that the pro-life movement has found priceless: the earliest and most compelling visual images that give intimate detail and clarity to the humanity of unborn children in the womb.

The Swedish photographer is eighty-seven years old, and was the first to open up the secret world of the unborn - from conception up to birth - by way of macro-lenses and endoscopes (tiny instruments - including camera lens and case - that measure less than eight-tenths of a millimeter in diameter).

Nilsson’s photographic explorations of the unborn child’s life in the womb were revealed to the world first in 1965 as the cover-story for the April 30, 1965 edition of LIFE magazine, entitled "The Drama of Life before Birth." But his photographs made their chief debut in that same year in a book called, "A Child is Born."

The stunning images published in 1965 have now been remastered with the help of the latest photographic technology and "A Child is Born" has been republished in a fifth and final edition. Nilsson says this final edition of his book is meant for the reader of the 21st century to enjoy, so that they might appreciate the mystery of a human being’s beginnings. Nilsson has cut away most of the scientific text of previous versions, and largely lets the photos speak for themselves.

In a question-and-answer session with fellow Swedish photographer Hasse Persson, Nilsson remarked that although he has not photographed God directly through his microscopic cameras, "I’ve seen what He does."

The photographs taken by Nilsson are credited with benefitting science in myriad ways, including helping pave the way to 4-D ultrasound technology; but they have also been of invaluable assistance to the pro-life movement, helping to make its case for the humanity of the unborn.

“In the case of Lennart Nilsson’s photographs, a picture is worth lives, untold numbers of lives, because those pictures humanize the child in utero,” said Judie Brown, President of American Life League.

Brown told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) that Nilsson’s work must be placed in the context of the 45 intervening years and the development of ultrasound technologies that image the child in the womb.

“I think we would have been far behind where we are today,” without Nilsson’s photographs, said Brown, “because he is the inspiration for all the scientists who wanted to do what he had done, but through a realistic way, allowing the mother to see her child living and breathing in her womb.”

“If it had not been for him, the whole science of ultrasonography might have been set back as well.”

"Images such as those created by Lennart Nilsson absolutely reaffirm the humanity of unborn persons, which is why they are so unpopular with pro-abortion forces," Rev. Thomas Euteneuer, President of Human Life International, told LSN. "It is worthwhile to note that it is pro-lifers who call attention to the latest scientific and technological advances in fetal development research, not pro-abortionists, who seek to deny the obvious humanity of the unborn."

Nilsson himself withholds his opinion on abortion, saying that individuals must come to their own opinion. But service to truth also means service to life, and for that, Euteneuer told LSN, the pro-life movement is grateful for the contributions made by scientists and photographers like Nilsson.

"The facts are themselves on the side of life," said Euteneuer. "In utero photos, 3-D ultrasounds, more accurate knowledge of the stages of fetal development - all these glimpses of the truth just demolish the view that the unborn child is just tissue."

Nilsson’s photographs have undeniably helped those on the front lines of the pro-life movement. These images have figured prominently on pro-life billboards and signs that say "Choose Life!" They are especially critical for those who reach out to teenage girls and women in front of abortion clinics and give them the chance to think of their baby as a real human person - not an abstract thing or ball of tissue.

Chris Slattery, the director of Expectant Mother Care (EMC) FrontLine Pregnancy Centers in New York City, the "abortion capital of America," says photos that depict the humanity of the unborn child in the womb have been "invaluable" in changing hearts and minds on abortion and "bringing to life the humanity of the unborn."

Slattery told LSN that EMC volunteers work with pregnant women in need of help and offer counseling outside abortion facilities. The photographs of the unborn child really help get the message across, he said.

Images of the unborn have advanced rapidly since Nilsson took his first photographs of life in the womb. Although Nilsson’s endoscope allowed him to take intra-uterine photographs of a developing child, constraints on the technology in 1965 meant that in the early embryonic stages he had to photograph the unborn who had miscarried due to extra-uterine or ectopic pregnancies.

Now, Slattery says the pro-life arsenal has rapidly increased through images from 3D/4D ultrasound technology, which gives images of the baby in three dimensions and allows the mother to see real-time movement of her baby in the womb. These capture the facial expressions of the unborn, revealing personality.

"Photographs are a stock in trade tool," said Slattery. "We have used these successfully on the streets and in crisis pregnancy centers for decades."

Slattery said that he was looking forward to "A Child Is Born" making its way to the United States in the fifth version. "I’m always looking for new tools," he said.

The fifth edition of "A Child Is Born" made its European debut in autumn, and an English language version is published in the United Kingdom through Jonathan Cape. Susanne Bergström Larsson, agent for Bonnier Group Agency, which handles the rights to Nilsson’s work, told LSN in an e-mail that they hope to see the book published in the United States next year.

A photo-gallery of Nilsson’s work is available for viewing at the UK Telegraph here.

Readers can also check out Lennart Nilsson’s website, which has more images, interviews, and news related to his work.

Read a special LSN report on surgical abortion that features the photography of Lennart Nilsson chronicling the different stages of fetal development.


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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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