revealed a little of the personal tenderness and wonder the unborn life evinced in him:
“Thanks to a refined sonar-like imagery, Dr. Ian Donald, from England, a year ago succeeded in producing a movie featuring the youngest star in the world, an 11-week-old baby dancing in utero (in the uterus). The baby plays, so to speak, on a trampoline! He bends his knees, pushes on the wall, soars up and falls down again. Because his body has the same buoyancy as the amniotic fluid, he does not feel gravity and performs his dance in a very slow, graceful, and elegant way, impossible in any other place on the Earth. Only astronauts in their gravity-free state can achieve such gentleness of motion. (By the way, for the first walk in space, technologists had to decide where to attach the tubes carrying the fluids. They finally chose the belt buckle of the suit, reinventing the umbilical cord.) “When I had the honor of testifying previously before the Senate, I took the liberty of referring to the universal fairy-tale of the man smaller than the thumb. At two months of age, the human being is less than one thumb’s length from the head to the rump. He would fit at ease in a nutshell, but everything is there: hands, feet, head, organs, brain, all are in place. His heart has been beating for a month already. Looking closely, you would see the palm creases and a fortune teller would read the good adventure of that tiny person. With a good magnifier the fingerprints could be detected. Every document is available for a national identity card.
“With the extreme sophistication of our technology, we have invaded his privacy. Special hydrophones reveal the most primitive music: a deep, profound, reassuring hammering at some 60-70 per minute (the maternal heart) and a rapid, high-pitched cadence at some 150-170 (the heart of the fetus). These, mixed, mimic those of the countrabass and of the maracas, which are the basic rhythms of any pop music.
“We now know what he feels, we have listened to what he hears, smelled what he tastes and we have really seen him dancing full of grace and youth. Science has turned the fairy tale of Tom Thumb into a true story, the one each of us has lived in the womb of his mother.”
Lejeune would return to the United States to testify in the “frozen embryo” case Davis v. Davis, that every embryo should be treated as a patient, not a commodity. He correctly foresaw the outcome of designating tiny human beings as property, not people. That is the fate of the hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos now languishing in a technological limbo across the world, which scientists are hungrily seeking out for use in stem cell research. These infinitesimal human beings will either sit in freezers indefinitely, or be cannibalized for parts.
As his daughter documents, Lejeune’s activism led directly to his loss of research money, to the end of his academic advancement, and to a professional isolation that would prevail until the end of his life. As she wrote of her father’s fate:
Lejeune-Gaymard recounts that even she found herself shunned at university because of her father’s activism, as if the guilt from “crimes” against public opinion had been transmitted genetically to his daughter.