Groundbreaking In-the-Womb Photos Now
Improved and Republished
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 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
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
"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 LifeSiteNews.com. "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
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
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. LSN sent a message to the book's publisher about the book's
debut in the United States and Canada, but did not receive a reply by
of Nilsson's work is available for viewing at the UK Telegraph by clicking
Readers can also check out Lennart Nilsson's website, which has
more images, interviews, and news related to his work.
Contact: Peter J. Smith
Date: October 14, 2009
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The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in
Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state
coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of
Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our
society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political
persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic
backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has
been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the
human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that
every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is
dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection
for the disabled and the elderly. Click here to learn more about the IFRL.