Famed photographer Michael Clancy, the earliest human encounter, and

His career was destroyed after his iconic shot of an unborn child’s fist
reaching out in the midst of surgery. He now travels the world telling his

BY Patrick B. Craine

“I didn’t really want kids,” says Michael Clancy. A terrible, abusive
childhood left him with no desire to have children of his own. And when it
came to the subject of aborting children in the womb, he sat on the
sidelines, believing that it was a woman’s issue. “I thought that as a
man, it wasn’t my fight!” he said. That was until he witnessed the
extraordinary event that happened 12 years ago: the event that changed his
life forever.

Last week, Clancy was the keynote speaker at the Knights of Columbus
Michigan Council and Michigan Right to Life’s 34th Respect Life Dinner in
Livonia, Michigan. He shared his amazing story and the controversy
surrounding him since the day he found himself in just the right place at
precisely the right time to take extraordinary photos – photos that the
Tennessee native declares are the earliest recorded human interactions. The
images are so powerful that a battle has raged for over 12 years about their
validity. Clancy travels the world to tell the truth about what happened and
why we should believe him.

Michael Clancy is the photojournalist who was hired by USA Today to record
the fetal surgery of 21-week-old Samuel Armas. According to Clancy, during
the surgery to correct for spina bifida, he saw that the mother’s uterus
began to shake from within, and as he watched, the tiny fist “came through
the opening with a fury” to reveal the whole arm. The doctor lifted the
tiny hand, and Samuel then “reacted by squeezing the doctor’s gloved
finger.” As if to test for strength, the doctor, Joseph P. Bruner, shook
the fist, but “Samuel held firm,” according to Clancy.

The veteran photojournalist was able to take several pictures in progression
at 1/60 of a second. Not even sure if the pictures were in focus, Clancy
submitted the roll of unprocessed film to USA Today per their policy to
avoid manipulation.

But immediately after the surgery, Clancy was shocked when the doctor
asserted to others that the event was staged and that he had purposely
pulled the baby’s hand out of the womb to provide a photo op.
“Untrue!” says Clancy as he suddenly found himself in the center of a
very difficult situation.

“I knew this was important! You can look back and see the earliest human
interaction! This was history…I knew as a journalist that history is
important whether we like it or not!”

It came down to Clancy’s word against the doctor, who, suggests Clancy,
needed to protect his reputation from the evidence that Samuel had come out
from under the anesthesia too early – an occurrence, Clancy says, that
“happens[,] and we all know it. It [anesthesia] was experimental for
mother and baby at the time.”

It would be reasonable to think that the man who snapped such an amazing
photo would receive a Pulitzer Prize. But the controversy served to end
Clancy’s journalistic reputation and the twelve-year career he loved.

Ever since, he has been speaking to people about the event and the historic
and political impact on the journalistic community at the time.

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

The photograph, meanwhile, has made a significant and untold impression on
the whole world, and the dramatic moment has been recreated on major
television shows: “Scrubs,” “House,” and “The Good Wife.”

You know, you want a ticker tape parade, you want a Pulitzer Prize but I
have learned that sometimes it’s the journey…sometimes it’s the one
heart a day that we need to win this battle.

When asked what caused him to change from being uninvolved in the pro-life
movement to becoming someone who fights for the unborn, Clancy says, “I
didn’t want to be in this position. It’s tough to be in the middle of
this. It was Samuel who did it… I have a lot of questions – did he feel
the cold air or see light? In my opinion, he came out of the anesthesia and
he did feel pain for whatever duration that was… [I wonder,] what motor
senses did that baby use for his fist to come flying up?” But what did Dr.
Bruner and medical science learn that day? Says Clancy, “Not to let a
photographer in [to the operating room]!”

What Clancy saw in that operating room was all the proof he needed to change
his life. “Samuel proved to us that the child is a reactive human being
– it’s as simple as that and it is important to fight for!”

“I want to prove that this picture is real because it is history. Someday,
it is going to happen again, and people will look back and say that I was
telling the truth the whole time!”

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org.


Michelle Joseph
t. 011 648 5860
m. 082 609 6919

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