And out of iniquity came forth goodness

Founders of British obstetrics ‘were callous murderers’ and The incredible story of the most important woman in the history of modern medicine. The research on which the first article is based presents circumstantial evidence that the pioneers of obstetrics, Hunter and Smellie between 1749 and 1774 procured the death of women (probably rural girls who had come to the city and could disappear without questions) in various stages pregnancy in order to study the details of the anatomy of the process. The second article is about cervical cancer cells taken from a slave descended woman in 1951 at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. The woman died but these cells have been propagated for research ever since as they propagated aggressively in culture, with an estimated mass of cells to date of millions of tonnes. Neither she nor her children have had any benefit from this use, but commercial companies have enjoyed large incomes and the cells have been invaluable in helping develop treatments.

These histories bring to mind the Christian hymn, God moves in a mysterious way, written by William Cowper who wrote an anti slavery poem, The Negro’s complaint, and was a friend of John Newton at one time a slave ship commander (after spending time as a slave himself) who wrote Amazing Grace and who presided at the funeral of William Cowper. The tortuous sentence is meant to match the tortuous history.