Sunday, February 04, 2007

The inventor of fetal ultrasound opposed abortion

Do you know who invented the fetal ultrasound? It was a Scottish-born man by the name of Ian Donald.

Ian Donald was born in Scotland in 1910, but moved to South Africa. He eventually studied medicine at London University, where he specialezed in obstetrics. He served the Royal Air Force during World War II, and gained knowledge of sonar and radar. He used this knowledge. He became the Regius Chair of Midwifery at the University of Glasgow.

Using his knowledge he borrowed an industrial ultrasound machine and used it to scan some tumours. In 1958, he published Investigation of Pulsed Masses by Ultrasound in the British medical The Lancet. This was the beginning of ultrasound as a diagnostic tool.

He is also best remembered for his opposition to the British 1967 Abortion Act. He saw this as an "attempt to eliminate an evil by substituting a different evil".

He made one of the earliest films of real-time fetal action. Here is an excerpt of a speech he gave in 1978, as he showed the images:

Here’s the baby see how he jumps … This baby is about a 12 week pregnancy … she has only missed two periods. She does not even know she is pregnant. She certainly cannot feel these movements but there is no doubt about the reality, … now you see it move its hand up to its face you see his head is up here and his chest is down here then he throws his legs out and his arms … You see his hands come up like that. And you see his face here, the back of his head … This is the fluid sac in which he is contained. The full bladder is this way … It is rather like a child on a trampoline, tremendous strength, energy and vitality.35

Another quote:

Anybody who says this is not alive is talking through his neck. It is a lie, which is intolerable and seeing is believing…And one of the things that this film has done if it has done nothing else, is to kill forever the lie of the pro-abortion lobby that there’s nothing there just a potential human being, just – oh look at that jump, he bumps his head against the roof nearly, doesn’t he – This lie that he is just a potential human being when in fact that baby is as human as an old man…the same individual from conception to the grave. And when you destroy a baby by abortion that is what you are destroying. I think you have got to face the fact honestly…There can be no argument about it and if I have done nothing else in my life, I have killed that dirty lie that the foetus is just a nondescript meaningless jelly, disposable at will, something to be got rid of.


The article goes on to say:

Donald was a committed opponent of the termination of pregnancy for social reasons and he was leading campaigner against the 1967 Abortion Act. In this campaign he employed the ultrasound image as a powerful persuasive resource.