INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–Of all the things Southern Baptists were expecting to see on the exhibit floor of the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, an unborn baby was probably not on their list.
Yet visitors at the Psalm 139 Project booth in the SBC exhibit hall are able to view images of an ultrasound being conducted live. To promote the project’s effort to provide ultrasound equipment to eligible pregnancy care centers, sonographers are conducting ultrasound examinations on pregnant women in the booth, with the images broadcast on a large video screen.
The images of the woman’s unborn baby are accompanied by the sonographer’s commentary. The exam itself is conducted behind a curtain within the exhibit. In fact, a woman discovered in the booth June 14 that she is expecting two babies instead of one. A sonogram done on the exhibit floor showed identical twins holding hands inside her womb.
The Psalm 139 Project, administered by the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, seeks to create an awareness of the value of ultrasound technology in crisis pregnancy situations and to provide a way for individuals to give to a fund that places ultrasound machines in qualified pregnancy care centers.
“If wombs had windows, people would be much more reticent to abort babies because they would be forced to confront the evident humanity of the baby from very early gestation onward,” ERLC President Richard Land said, noting sonograms provide a “window into the womb.”
“Pregnant mothers who see their babies on sonograms are going to be far more likely to carry their baby to term,” Land added. “Ultrasound machines save babies’ lives.”
Since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, one out of every three babies conceived has been aborted, according to the Psalm 139 Project.
More than 75 percent of women in a crisis pregnancy who are given a glimpse of the life within them choose life, but this is only possible when women can go to a pregnancy resource center with an ultrasound machine, Land emphasized, estimating that less than 33 percent of all U.S. centers have access to ultrasound technology and a trained operator on site.
“Sonogram machines are very expensive and most crisis pregnancy centers lack the funds needed to buy the equipment or have the necessary medical personnel on staff to have ultrasound machines,” he said.
Terry Williams, executive director of the Central Texas Life Center in San Marcos, Texas, told Baptist Press she hears many pastors note that their local pregnancy center already has an ultrasound machine.
“I say, ‘Well, if your center has one, there are probably 10 or 20 that don’t.’ I have an ultrasound machine [at my local center], but there are two centers within a 20-mile radius of me that don’t have one. If we all had one, think of what we could do in terms of saving lives,” she said.
Focus on the Family estimates that about 2,300 pregnancy resource centers exist in the United States, and more than half of them are in need of sonogram machines in order to show women the life within them.
Williams said she is encouraging pastors to visit their local pregnancy care centers and inquire about whether a sonogram machine is needed. The center would be able to work with the pastor to determine the cost of such a machine and how to get one, and the pastor could lead his church in raising funds to purchase it.
“How incredible a gift that would be,” Williams said. “That Southern Baptist church could be the catalyst for saving babies’ lives.”
The ERLC has partnered with The Heidi Group for the Psalm 139 Project. Founded by pro-life leader Carol Everett, The Heidi Group is named for the daughter Everett would have had if she had not aborted the baby years ago.
“The Heidi Group started out of my sin,” she told Baptist Press on the exhibit floor. “I had a termination and came to own the largest pregnancy termination clinic in Dallas. But I came to know Christ 20 years ago. I wasted the first part of my life, and now I’d like to see the last part of my life count by helping save babies.”
In addition to being a ministry to save babies, Everett said, the Psalm 139 Project is an outreach to girls and women who need to know Christ.
“This is not a fight. This is a mission field,” she said of the effort to change lives through sonogram use.
“My hope is for Southern Baptists to become involved and see this as a missionary outreach and to get their churches involved and to put sonogram machines in pregnancy centers,” Everett said. “We know that these [machines] save lives, but we also know that women take better care of themselves during pregnancy. We know that 10 to 30 percent of the girls who walk through the door of a pregnancy center come to Christ. That’s a real life change.”
For more information about the Psalm 139 Project, visit www.psalm139project.org.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: SAVING LIVES. Additional photos to be posted at the SBC annual meeting website, www.sbcannualmeeting.org/sbc04.