Ultrasounds provide window to the womb Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes
Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

On January 22, 1973 the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion in the Roe v. Wade decision.

Justice Byron White, who dissented, stated, "The court apparently values the convenience of a pregnant mother more than the continued existence and development of the life or potential life she carries."

Since Roe v. Wade, 58 million abortions have occurred in our country. This is roughly the population of the United States around 1869.

The Catholic Church teaches that human life begins at conception.

When a woman becomes pregnant, and doesn't want their baby, she may be embarrassed, frightened, and confused. She may consider abortion. Some friends may suggest she get an abortion.

Pro-life pregnancy centers

Others may encourage her to visit a pro-life pregnancy center.

In the Diocese of Madison, pro-life pregnancy clinics include Platteville's Clarity Clinic, Madison’s Women's Care Center, and Beloit's Stateline Pregnancy Center.

These clinics offer free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, and confidentiality, which often attracts struggling low-income expectant mothers considering abortion.

When a pregnant woman visits one of these centers, the pro-life counselor who believes that the woman is carrying an unborn baby in her womb encourages her to give birth. Then the woman, hopefully supported by the father, decides to raise the child or offer him or her for adoption.

Importance of ultrasound

Pro-life counselors are optimistic about the importance of ultrasound images in the decision process. In 1983, two government researchers published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine about pregnant women who underwent ultrasound tests while considering abortions.

Viewing the unborn children early in pregnancy, before movement is felt by the mother, may "influence the resolution of any ambivalence toward the pregnancy itself in favor of the fetus," wrote Drs. John C. Fletcher, then of the National Institutes of Health, and Mark I. Evans, then of George Washington University Medical School.

Ultrasound examination may thus result in fewer abortions and more desired pregnancies.

Drs. Fletcher and Evans wrote that one woman who was beaten early in pregnancy was given the ultrasound test to see whether her child had been injured in the womb.

When she saw her child's image moving on the screen, she said, "I feel that it is human. It belongs to me. I couldn’t have an abortion now."

Ultrasound images provide a window to the womb.

Need financial support

Financial support is needed to help support pro-life pregnancy centers. The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates hopes to help equip one-third of our nation’s pregnancy centers with ultrasound machines and trained staff.

On January 22, 2009, the Knights of Columbus launched an ultrasound initiative. As of June of 2014, numerous local and state councils have qualified for matching funds from the Supreme Council office towards the purchase of over 460 ultrasound machines at a cost of over $13.5 million.

Beloit’s Knights of Columbus Council 605 and South Beloit's Knights of Columbus Council 8021 helped to purchase an ultrasound machine for the Stateline Pregnancy Center which serves Illinois and Wisconsin.

Ultrasound machines along with increased support to mothers offer hope for unborn babies.


Fr. Donald Lange is a pastor emeritus in the Diocese of Madison.