Why the lowly ultrasound deserves high praise from the pro-life movement
In the days leading up to her abortion appointment, Gabi started to have doubts.
For weeks she was sure she wanted an abortion.
“But then I just kept thinking, I can’t imagine going to sleep, waking up and knowing my boy wasn’t going to be in there,” she said.
So Gabi called Amy Hutchcraft, the Client Care Director at her local pregnancy resource center, Matrix Life Care Center. She asked if she could do an ultrasound. Hutchcraft told her they had availability on their mobile medical unit and immediately scheduled her appointment.
“I still remember that day,” Gabi said. “When they did the ultrasound my heart got so warm in my chest. I thought ‘there he is.’ A whole new light came into my life.”
Hutchcraft said she could see the change in Gabi immediately. “When we did the ultrasound he [her son] was so active. It almost looked like he was waving at us.”
As soon as Gabi saw her son during the ultrasound, she chose life.
Ultrasounds & The Pro-Life Movement
Ultrasounds are an important tool in the pro-life movement. They help women like Gabi to see the humanity of the unborn. That’s one reason October is medical ultrasound awareness month — a month dedicated to celebrating the medical strides made through ultrasound technology.
Charmaine Yoest is the former president of Americans United for Life (AUL). AUL is one of many organizations behind laws that require clinics to do an ultrasound before a woman has an abortion. “There’s an entire generation of women who saw a sonogram as their first baby picture,” Yoest told AP News.
While statistics about the impact of ultrasounds are hard to track down, pro-life organizations like the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) say 80 percent of abortion-minded mothers choose life after they see their unborn baby via ultrasound.
Critics of heartbeat bills and ultrasound laws often cite a 2015 study from the University of California which found that 85 percent of abortion-determined women seeking abortion from a Planned Parenthood in LA, saw their ultrasound and still chose to abort.
But in a publication from the pro-life group, Care Net, Dr. Sandy Christiansen notes there are huge differences in women who are abortion-determined versus many of the abortion-vulnerable women who visit pregnancy resource centers. Abortion-determined is the term used to describe women who have already made up their mind to abort. Abortion-vulnerable women are still unsure.
Yet even still, “the woman who comes to a pregnancy center having already made an appointment for an abortion, have not yet kept that appointment,” Christiansen writes.
“In this [University of California] study of 15,000 women who showed up for their abortion appointment, 7 percent were not certain about their decision – that was more than 1,000 women. If a similar percentage of the 1.05 million women getting abortions in the U.S. each year are also uncertain, that’s over 73,000 women! These are the women who can benefit the most from pregnancy center services.”
Medical Director of the Pregnancy Resource Centers of Southwest Florida, Dr. Karysse Trandem, an OB/GYN physician, agrees.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a mom staunchly say, ‘I will have an abortion today,’ but then when she sees that heartbeat on the ultrasound she will begin to cry. She starts to see the baby as a living part of her.”
Victoria Robinson is the former director of three pregnancy centers in the southeast. Based on more than 10 years of experience she says she saw 90 percent of the women in her centers choose life after seeing their ultrasound.
“Some of these women had scheduled abortions and would ask me to call and cancel their appointments after the ultrasound,” she said.
Part of the reason Save the Storks works to get mobile medical units (MMU) on the road is because of ultrasound technology. These units can go unto the community and reach abortion-vulnerable women. From January to August Save the Storks affiliated MMUs administered 900 ultrasounds. Statistics from Care Net affiliates also note that their pregnancy resource center affiliates had over 131 thousand ultrasound clients in 2019.
“An ultrasound changes everything,” Robinson said. “It’s the window to the womb where life cannot be denied. It’s difficult for the abortion industry to claim there is nothing more than a blob of tissue growing when the mother visibly sees her unborn child.”