A dramatic episode of the popular evening television drama, House, that showed an unborn child from an opened womb grasping a surgeon’s finger during surgery, vividly demonstrated the humanity of the unborn.

The Fox network drama featured a story line where a 42-year-old pregnant rock and roll photographer suffers a stroke and doctors discover the cause is a rare condition called Maternal Mirror Syndrome, in which the mother’s health mimics the distress level of her unborn child. The baby’s kidneys are failing, a situation that is likely to end in the death of both mother and child.

The diagnostician recommends abortion, steadfastly refusing to consider the unborn child a person and insisting on calling him a “fetus,” but the mother, Emma, adamantly refuses to consent to terminating her pregnancy. Emma begins to suffer life-threatening symptoms, including jaundice and liver failure, but continues to refuse to abort as her child is two weeks away from viability.

Emma’s determination to save the life of her child convinces the doctor to try a revolutionary surgery in which the uterus is carefully removed from the mother, opened and the child treated and returned to the womb.

During the course of this delicate surgery, the famously unemotional and sardonic doctor, Gregory House, played by Hugh Laurie, stands transfixed as the child reaches out of the uterus and grasps his finger with a tiny hand.

Called “Fetal Position,” the episode aired April 3 and has been the subject of much internet chatter about the personhood of the unborn. Many pro-life viewers are likely aware that the surgery depicted, and the riveting moment of contact between the child and the doctor, is a re-enactment of a real-life surgery that saved the life of Samuel Armas, whose spina bifida was repaired by doctors at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in 1999. The photo of Samuel’s tiny hand grasping his doctor’s finger has become an icon of the human nature of the unborn. On House, the doctor, while moved, remains unconvinced by his unexpected contact, but pro-life advocates are hailing the episode’s depiction of the unborn child as a patient as a step forward in the media’s depiction of the right-to-life issue.

A version of this article first appeared April 5 at LifeSiteNews.com. To see a clip of the dramatic video, type Fetal Position – Baby Hand in the search engine of YouTube.com.