November 8, 2010

Barbara Bush had doctors save her miscarried fetus in a jar so she could show it to the teenaged George W. Bush.

Bush recounts. 
"There's no question that affected me, a philosophy that we should respect life. There was a human life, a little brother or sister."

48 comments:

edutcher said...

Mrs B is and was a class act. Something all the Ilse Kochs of feminism wouldn't understand, but it brought home a point - those are people that are being murdered.

Very prescient of you, ma'am.

q12345q6789 said...

Whoa! Just whoa.

q12345q6789 said...

Is that about the same time he started drinking?

rhhardin said...

It was human as opposed to wolf.

It was human taken broadly, in other words.

The hidden claim is that human taken broadly deserves the same respect as human taken narrowly, "the word itself says so."

"So that's when I learned about critical thinking."

victoria said...

I had a feeling she was a sadist. Seems to me she was and is the perfect political wife, cold, calculating and devoid of any genuine emotion. Edutcher, not a class act at all. Tacky and nasty.

Urp.


Vicki from Pasadena

traditionalguy said...

In the traditional Scots-Irish families, back through the 1880s ,of which I personally heard the family stories passed down, all of the family members grieved about a babies born dead or which died a few days from birth. The family grave plots have the baby's little headstones on a little plot, complete with its name and dates of birth and death...many a few days apart. Death was a real enemy of the family, and they honored the loses. Being born alive on this planet earth was seen as a holy and precious privilege. They learned that from scripture reading and worship as Presbyterians.

Lisa said...

that's child abuse. To force a teenage child to look at what might have been their sibling and to remember it for the rest of their life... how mean, how heartless

MadisonMan said...

There's something a little off-putting about this story. I can't quite put my finger on it. This is not something I (or my wife) would do with a miscarriage. I wonder how many months.

I did see GWB during a promo for the show tonight that ran before the Packer annihilation of the hapless Cowboys, and he really looks like his Dad.

Chris said...

Creepy. Would have made an awesome Halloween post!

shoutingthomas said...

Vicki from Pasadena, a lot of things seem to make you upchuck.

Second reference in less than a week.

Acid reflux?

Better have it checked out.

k*thy said...

After reading this, I was immediately taken aback. My mother-in-law, also suffered through a couple of miscarraiges, would never, for a second have considered doing this. I would have to agree that in this attempt to build a relationship with her son, she showed a great deal of emotional immaturity.

elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

Man, this one separates the doctrinaire Lefties from everyone else, don't it?

shoutingthomas said...

Vicki from Pasadena, a lot of things seem to make you upchuck.

Second reference in less than a week.

Acid reflux?

Better have it checked out.


May I suggest a Maalox drip?

Kensington said...

Wouldn't it be more respectful of life to give someone a proper a burial after they've died?

I'm stridently pro-life, and it seems creepy to keep a dead body around in a jar like that just to show it off.

How long did they keep the body? Did they bury it eventually, at least?

MadisonMan said...

I would have to agree that in this attempt to build a relationship with her son, she showed a great deal of emotional immaturity.

I'm curious what she (=BB) thought his reaction to this would be. As a conversation starter, it doesn't seem like it would work to me.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I think that Mrs. Bush could have conveyed the concept of unborn/life/human being without the gory fetus in a jar.

Some women who miscarry never emotionally get over the sorrow and loss and even become somewhat unhinged. Sounds like Barbara could have used some counseling at the time.

Dark Eden said...

While quite creepy and something I would never do, I have to remind myself that people respond to death and loss in their own way and in their own time, and I try not to judge. Is this any weirder than having your loved one cremated and keeping a box filled with their charred flesh on your mantle? I think we live in such a sanitized 'out of sight out of mind' culture these days that we could stand with a few more reminders of death and our own mortality. This particular one is pretty damn creepy tho.

Fernandinande said...

When I was a kid my mom took me to a doctor whose office was lined with jars of fetuses and body parts. It was so cool!

ricpic said...

Most parents hide reality at its harshest from their children. I admire Barbara Bush for seeing her son as adult enough to participate in the terrible reality she had been dealt.

edutcher said...

Kensington said...

Wouldn't it be more respectful of life to give someone a proper a burial after they've died?

I'm stridently pro-life, and it seems creepy to keep a dead body around in a jar like that just to show it off.

How long did they keep the body? Did they bury it eventually, at least?


FWIW, something Bush 41 said during his run in '88 that gave me the impression the death of the little girl (they were going to name her, Robin) never was far removed from them, even 40 years later. For some people (and I say this from personal observation), letting go is this side of impossible.

PS There is a 'stiff upper lip', old pioneer 'tough it out' quality in some of those old WASP families that most people have, for good or ill, lost.

Fred4Pres said...

The weird thing is Mrs. B is pro choice.

rdkraus said...

This would have been around 1960.

Way different world back then, in particular when it came to discussions of abortion and sex in general.

Still seems pretty weird to me. Can't imagine my Mom doing this.

Although, I'll say this, lotta pro-abortion (yes, not choice) people are very invested in the idea that the unborn are not quite human. Go take a look at any abortion discussion at Pandagon for a good example of this.

rdkraus said...

Fred

I don't find that weird at all.

I'm pro-choice. But I don't think it helps to make believe you're not talking about an umborn human being.

Maybe Mrs. B was not pro-choice then, 50 years ago.

Marshal said...

"Man, this one separates the doctrinaire Lefties from everyone else, don't it?"

Uh, no. I would never show my kid something with that possibilty of mental trauma.

MamaM said...

In my formative years, the glass jars of preserved human fetuses showing gestational development were one of my favorite displays at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

For those urping, what is weird about showing someone a blob of tissue other than the fact that it might be a bit gory?

Paul Zrimsek said...

In terms of gross-out potential, the preserved fetuses at the Museum of Science and Industry aren't a patch on the cross-sectional slices of adult humans in that one stairwell.

former law student said...

Museum of Science and Industry

Background on the Exhibit
Collected in the 1930s by Dr. Helen Button with help from local hospitals, Prenatal Development contains specimens from the difficult times of the Great Depression. To the best of our knowledge, all failed to survive because of accidents or natural causes. Dr. Button obtained the parents’ permission to use these specimens as teaching tools.

Joe said...

When a woman miscarries, the doctors like it if you can preserve the fetus and bring it to the hospital. This isn't for some sick, twisted reason, but to help understand why the miscarriage occurred.

(Another problem in miscarriage is that the woman may not fully deliver the placenta, thus the need for a D&C.)

In my wife's case, her miscarriage after birth #3 was due to an anembryonic gestation. We had two more children after that.

(I'm baffled as to how exposing children to the reality of life is now child abuse. Our first child was born premature and died shortly after birth. Had he been my youngest, would it have been child abuse for our living children to see his body?)

tim maguire said...

As rhhardin accurately points out, abortion is not an issue of whether or not the fetus is human, the issue is whether or not you care that the fetus is human. A large (but thankfully shrinking) minority of Americans does not care.

Freeman Hunt said...

So this is pre the era of routine ultrasound? With that in mind, it makes sense. How else would you show someone that a fetus was a baby? Perhaps now, with other options, she would not have done the same thing.

Hagar said...

Impersonal foetuses (foeti?) in jars in a laboratory are not quite the same as your mom's - or your wife's - aborted foetus. That is up close and personal.

Oogedy Boogler said...

Something is missing from this newspaper article. I haven't read the book but seems like the Daily Mail hasn't either. I've had a miscarriage at home at 5 weeks (too small to go in for a D & C). Was the Bush miscarriage also early? Or was it late term and she couldn't, for whatever reason, get to the hospital for a D & C. Miscarrying at home is a long, intense, bloody, physically and mentally draining process (none of the joy that follows of a live birth). Was George H. W. away on business during this time? Was George W. her only support at home during this grueling event? Probably not uncommon in the days before ultrasound for the mother to save the baby's remains so the doctor would know the uterus was completely evacuated, i.e. no infections to follow. We know of course that after an abortion the nurses have to reconstruct the baby to make sure they got it all. Speaking of infections following miscarriages, haven't we read in the Daily Mail about Lily Allen's miscarriage and subsequent blood poisoning. Was George curious, scared, frightened by all the screaming, moaning, crying from his mother? Did witnessing labor-like experience in the Age of the Waiting Room and Celebratory Cigar (long before the advent of father-friendly Birthing Suites) cause George the teenager to grow up fast? Did Mrs. B want to show him what it was all about? Do we know that they didn't bury the baby afterwards? Most miscarriages and stillborn babies in that era were incinerated in the hospital furnace. Does anyone on this thread besides Miss Ann (we've seen her breastfeeding and law books photo a bajillion times) have children?!

Big Mike said...

Barbara Bush is the most formidable former first lady since Abigail Adams. I dare any of the commentators in the thread above to rip her to her face. You wouldn't have the guts because you know damned well that she'd eviscerate you (probably both literally as well as figuratively).

In fact I double dog dare you.

George Grady said...

When my three boys were aged 2, 4, and 6, my wife had a miscarriage in about the fourth month. My sons had already known that she was pregnant. It's their family, too, after all. When my wife miscarried, they (the oldest especially) wanted to know what happened. So we showed them the baby, which my wife had put in a jar, before we buried him/her in the backyard.

The oldest, at least, still remembers the baby, the jar, and the burial. It certainly hasn't scarred his psyche for life, or left some overwhelming cloud over the rest of our days. Death is an unavoidable part of life and family and relationships.

The only way we really even observe it now is at Christmas time, where we have a little stocking hanging with the others. It was my sons' idea, probably because the baby died just a couple of weeks before Christmas. So we have it, and we remember, but that's just how it is.

Ankur said...

As creepy as this is, I cannot bring myself to feel anything but empathy for the poor soul. How many years of pain were bottled up in that jar?

Trooper York said...

Well Barbara was always a saver.

She even kept the Poloroids of Sammy Baugh's penis that he sent her back in the forties.

Just be thankfull she didn't put in her scrapbook for crying out loud!

MamaM said...

Odd is different than wrong. If there was hidden anger involved and Barbara Bush shoved the jar in George's face or exposed its contents to him without context or consent, then it's creepy story about Barbara'a dysfunction and inappropriate behavior.

Does is seem likely that Barbara experienced a miscarriage, cleaned herself up, gathered and jarred the evidence as directed, made arrangements with her teenage son for a ride to the hospital, and then surprised him with a look at the fetus without letting him in on any of the preceding events? It's my belief he was involved enough in the process for the whole experience to have a profound effect, beyond what his eyes saw in the jar.

@Paul Zrimsek...Yes on the gross out potential of those cross- sections. They were hard to look at, as they reminded me of the ham slices with the center bone that we used to have for supper. Same size, shape, color and look.

KS said...

"FWIW, something Bush 41 said during his run in '88 that gave me the impression the death of the little girl (they were going to name her, Robin)..."

Actually, Robin Bush (1949-1953) died of leukemia shortly before her fourth birthday.

hombre said...

Although, I'll say this, lotta pro-abortion (yes, not choice) people are very invested in the idea that the unborn are not quite human.

The argument that the unborn are not human is scientifically unsound.

Consequently, pro-abortion folk normally opt for the unscientific, but equally unsound, "not persons" argument when describing the unborn.

former law student said...

So we showed them the baby, which my wife had put in a jar, before we buried him/her in the backyard.

Someone buried human remains, a family member, in their backyard, as it was a guinea pig or a parakeet?

I pity the next homeowner who puts in a tree or patio.

George Grady said...

former law student,

Thank you for you concern.

blake said...

Oh, I thought it was years later.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@fls:

Someone buried human remains, a family member, in their backyard, as it was a guinea pig or a parakeet?

This was common in rural America well into the twentieth century. Very old houses often have generations of the family buried in the back. Crack a book once in a while, you might learn something.

You know, in other parts of the world, people do lot of things you probably think is weird. You'll probably want to avoid Tibet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky_burial

c3 said...

Fred;
The weird thing is Mrs. B is pro choice.


Bbbbbbbut she's a Republican

and a BUSH no less!


How can this be?

former law student said...

This was common in rural America well into the twentieth century. Very old houses often have generations of the family buried in the back. Crack a book once in a while, you might learn something.


If you have acreage, then I can see having a family plot. Not a suburban backyard, and not in a Hellman's jar.

Ralph L said...

I suspect she did this to discourage him from knocking up girls. As far as we know, it worked.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@fls:

If you have acreage, then I can see having a family plot. Not a suburban backyard, and not in a Hellman's jar.

Perhaps you can give us all a definitive ruling on what rites are appropriate for miscarriages.

"Suburban" and "Hellman's jar" are out, though these details seem, as usual, to be your own invention.

I'm sure there are millions of grieving people whom you don't know who are in dire need of your opinions on how to grieve appropriately. Better get on it.

scorto.com said...

Doesn't make any sense to me at all... sounds absolutely crazy