EDITOR’S NOTE: The following story is being posted in conjunction with Sanctity of Human Life Sunday (Jan. 16) in the Southern Baptist Convention.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–On the heels of the placement of a portable ultrasound machine in Florida, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s Psalm 139 Project quickly redirected its attention to raising funds for a similar machine to be placed in New Life Pregnancy Centers in Phoenix, Ariz.
And the effort is getting close to its goal.
The portable machine, costing approximately $25,000, will be used to provide sonograms for expectant mothers considering abortion. In anticipation of the machine, a sizable gift has been promised to the Arizona Southern Baptist group to purchase a new van, which is to be outfitted as a mobile sonogram unit.
Julie Crawford, statewide director of New Life Pregnancy Centers in Arizona, said the mobile medical unit would be a boon to pregnancy centers across Phoenix, giving them access to the life-saving ultrasound machine. God uses the images of life, Crawford said, to influence women who are considering abortion to instead give serious thought to allowing their child to live.
Crawford told a story of a client in her mid-30s who came to the pregnancy center seriously considering abortion because she thought she was too old to have another child. As the client left, she told Crawford she was still planning to follow through with the abortion even though she had seen the pictures of her unborn child on the ultrasound machine.
“I called to follow up with this client and was so excited and thankful to find out she chose life,” Crawford said, expressing confidence it was the image on the ultrasound machine’s screen that made the difference.
Currently, the Psalm 139 Project is less than $5,000 away from meeting the financial goal of placing an ultrasound machine in New Life Pregnancy Centers.
Every day, thousands of women just like Crawford’s client come face-to-face with the decision to either choose life or choose to abort their child.
In its most recent report, the Guttmacher Institute, a subsidiary of Planned Parenthood, said that four in every 10 unintended pregnancies in America end in an abortion. According to the same study, there were 1.21 million abortions in 2008.
The number of children aborted since the infamous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, eclipsing the 50 million mark, plus the desire to provide Christ-followers a tangible way of aiding those on the frontlines of the fight to save babies’ lives, led to the birth of the ERLC’s Psalm 139 Project several years ago.
This initiative is designed to help educate Southern Baptists on the value of ultrasound technology in crisis pregnancy situations and to provide them a means by which they can be a part of saving unborn lives. (More information about the project can be found at psalm139project.org, where donations can be made.)
The initiative takes its name from Psalm 139, which underscores the fact that by God’s hand every human is “remarkably and wonderfully made,” ERLC President Richard Land said.
“Plain and simple: ultrasound machines save babies’ lives,” Land said. “Yet sonogram machines are very expensive, and most pregnancy centers lack the funds needed to buy the equipment or have the trained medical personnel on staff.”
In 2010, New Life Pregnancy Centers performed 1240 pregnancy tests, gave away 372 Bibles and had 16 personal decisions for Christ, Crawford said.
The centers also provide a program called “New Start,” where clients can attend Bible studies and take classes on parenting for a rent stipend directly from their landlord as a reward for participating.
“We do see changed lives through our programs,” Crawford said. “A lot of our clients don’t know who Jesus is when they first come. It’s a great influence to have on someone’s life to show them Jesus.”
There are two New Life Pregnancy Centers in the Phoenix community, said Crawford, who indicated there are plans to open two more soon.
The sacrificial gifts of Southern Baptists to the Psalm 139 Project have allowed the ERLC to place ultrasound machines in pregnancy care centers in San Marcos, Texas; New Albany, Ind.; San Bernardino, Calif.; Corinth, Miss.; and Denver, Colo. In addition to the machines, the project also provides training on the machine to the centers’ medical staff.
The Psalm 139 Project is a cooperative effort of the ERLC, the SBC’s North American Mission Board and state Baptist conventions.
Elizabeth Wood is a writer for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. If you are interested in giving to the Psalm 139 Project please, visit psalm139project.org or visit the Psalm 139 Project causes page on Facebook.