Jewish World Review Dec. 28, 2000 / 2 Teves, 5761
MY DAUGHTER turned 6 months old last
week. Veronica loves to roll across the
living room, and drink from her sippy
cup, and splash in the bathtub, and
laugh at Daddy's fish lip faces, and
yank really, really hard on Mommy's hair. She
kicks and squeals and wails and gurgles and
bounces and greets us each morning with a
smile that could melt Antarctica.
Looking back at photographs from the past
half-year, we are astounded at how fast she
has grown. First week home, first nap in her
crib, first Halloween, first solid food, first
Christmas -- the Kodak moments seem to
But perhaps the most priceless pictures we will
ever have of our firstborn child are the ones that
were taken before she was born:
black-and-white sonograms with close-ups of
tiny knees and elbows, two curled feet, a
waving hand, and a beating heart.
For almost three decades, ultrasound
technology has provided parents with a
miraculous window to the womb. This common
diagnostic technique uses harmless sound
waves, sent by a hand-held transducer rubbed
over the mother's belly, which bounce off the
developing unborn child. Echoes from the
waves are converted into sonograms, which
can be seen on video and captured in print. The latest advances
produce amazing three-dimensional views.
Ultrasound is an innovation that not only affirms life, but also saves lives.
Those who believe in protecting the unborn can do more good, more
immediately by helping to spread this technology across the country
than by counting on fair-weather politicians in Washington.
Crisis pregnancy centers, armed with ultrasound machines donated by
the non-profit National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, have
convinced an untold number of parents to say no to abortion. NIFLA's
"Life Choice Project" empowers the centers with legal advice, technical
support, and all the equipment and training necessary to be converted
into medical centers that can perform ultrasounds.
Anecdotal evidence of ultrasound's persuasive powers has been
steadily accumulating since 1983, when two government researchers
published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine on pregnant
women who underwent ultrasound tests while considering abortions.
Viewing their unborn children early in pregnancy, before movement is felt
by the mothers, 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."
Fletcher and Evans wrote that one woman who had been beaten early in
pregnancy was given the test to see whether her child had been injured
in the womb. When she saw the image of her child moving on the
screen, she said: "I feel that it is human. It belongs to me. I couldn't have
an abortion now." Another woman, 10 weeks pregnant, said after her
ultrasound exam: "I am going all the way with the baby."
Pregnancy centers from Joplin, Mo., to Denver, Co., report that many
women and their partners leaning toward abortion change their minds
after ultrasound exams. Dorothy Wallis of the Care Pregnancy Clinic in
Baton Rouge, La., reports that 98 percent of women who have
ultrasounds choose to carry to term.
NIFLA president Thomas Glessner told me before the holidays that his
group's goal is to equip one-third of the nation's pregnancy centers with
ultrasound machines and trained staff. Imagine someday being able to
prevent as many abortions as occur in this country -- an estimated 1.5
million per year. "I believe it can happen," he said. But not without help.
The program costs tens of thousands of dollars per center.
Tax-deductible donations can be made on the Internet (www.nifla.org) or
by sending checks to NIFLA/The Life Choices Project, P.O. Box 42060,
Fredericksburg, VA 22404.
If you are a parent or grandparent who has been moved to tears of joy by
ultrasound -- I know you are out there and I know you are legion -- make
it a New Year's resolution to join this life-saving
JWR contributor Michelle Malkin can be reached by clicking here.
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© 2000, Creators Syndicate