NASHVILLE (BP) - Mothers-in-crisis who see their baby alive through an ultrasound tend to choose life for their unborn child, not abortion. So, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission works to provide ultrasound machines to pregnancy resource centers. Both large and small PRC’s see the impact of the devices.
Amory’s life changed forever when she saw two blue lines on her pregnancy test. Thinking it was a false positive, she took it again and again - three more times. She had just finished graduate school, accepted her first job, moved into her own apartment and found a guy whom she believed liked her back. However, their relationship was rocky. Amory had no idea how he would react to the idea of being a father. Her life seemed to be collapsing, but her story did not end there.
Amory was terrified of potential judgment and ridicule. She was almost too afraid to seek help. But, she scheduled an appointment with Liberty Women’s Clinic in Kansas City. Her clinic nurse, Missy, treated her with kindness, respect and grace. Missy provided both information and hope.
Through an ultrasound machine at Liberty Women’s Clinic, Amory saw her baby’s heartbeat for the first time. She described the emotions that flooded her heart as surreal and overwhelming. She knew she was going to be a mother and had no doubt that she would keep her baby.
Today, Amory says her child, Ryder, brings her incomparable joy. She admits that when he says, “I love you,” she cannot imagine her life any other way. Her story is not uncommon among clients who experience the ministry of pregnancy care clinics. Ultrasound technology is sometimes referred to as “a window into the womb.” It gives mothers a vivid picture of the life they carry in their womb.
For 16 years, the ERLC has donated ultrasound units to clinics across the country, like Liberty Women’s Clinic, through its Psalm 139 Project. So far, the Project has funded and placed 20 machines. The Project’s funding comes from direct monetary gifts and from the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ unified giving plan to support national and international ministry causes.
Carol Graham, founder and CEO of Liberty Women’s Clinic, said that in the twelve months since receiving its ultrasound machine, its staff provided nearly 4,000 services to more than 650 women. Of those women, 285 had a positive pregnancy test, 231 were eligible for an ultrasound and 209 chose life for their child, the clinic reported. Among those who saw their unborn child on an ultrasound, the clinic saw 90 percent of mothers choose life.
“Ultrasound is truly what makes a difference for young women ... on the edge of a decision between life and death of their child. The quality of that image is vital,” Graham said. “The truth presented in the ultrasound image and the compassion of His [God’s] people poured out on the broken, provides an avenue to set captives free from their current anguish and the future despair of a decision to end their pregnancy.”
LWC has more than 100 volunteers, but not all clinics that receive ultrasound machines are that large. Greenspoint Pregnancy Assistance Center, Houston, Texas, is staffed by eight volunteers and one ultrasound technician. Flora Lopez, director of the Greenspoint center, said that 102 women gave their lives to Jesus in the past year through its ministry.
In 2019, Lopez served a first-time, 14-year-old mother. She came into the clinic with her grandmother - already planning for an abortion. The grandmother encouraged an abortion because she had one when she was younger. They were both confused and hurting. The grandmother told her granddaughter that she could get an abortion and that everything would be okay in the end because God would forgive her. “That statement broke my heart,” Lopez said.
The pair agreed to an ultrasound appointment for the next day. The grandmother told Lopez that if the baby appeared developed in the ultrasound image, then her granddaughter would not have an abortion.
The rest of the day, that night and the next morning, the center’s staff asked God to work in the hearts of the two women - to change them and convince them to choose life for the child. After they saw the ultrasound images, both the grandmother and granddaughter changed their minds about the abortion.
Lopez recounts what the grandmother told her after the appointment. “I cannot deny; I saw it in the ultrasound. That’s my great-grandbaby,” the woman said.
Of Greenspoint’s clients, 97 percent of those who receive an ultrasound choose life for their baby. Lopez said the center’s ministry sees 50 unborn children saved in a year, about one child a week. In 2020, the center hopes to hire another technician so that more ultrasound appointments can save more lives. “God is doing great things through the ultrasound machine at different pregnancy assistance centers,” Lopez said.