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Ultrasound unit assists mother, unborn child prior to dedication event

Todd Unzicker (left) executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, and Jenny Golding, director of the Smoky Mountain Pregnancy Care Center, stand in front of the center's new mobile ultrasound unit. Nurse sonographer Carol Tucker looks on from inside the unit. Submitted photo

FRANKLIN, N.C. – A brand new mobile ultrasound machine that will serve several western North Carolina counties has already played an instrumental role in helping at least one expectant mother and her unborn child.

As staff members at the Smoky Mountain Pregnancy Care Center (SMPCC) were preparing for a dedication ceremony for the new machine on Friday, March 11, they encountered a young woman who was 23 weeks pregnant and had come to the center looking to place her baby up for adoption.

SMPCC nurse Carol Tucker and director Jenny Golding were able to provide the woman with encouragement, counsel, resources and maternity clothes, but the fact that they were even at the center that day was a matter of providence.

“We’re usually not open on Fridays,” Golding said. “We love stories like these where God’s timing is obvious.”

God’s timing was also evident in the SMPCC receiving the new ultrasound machine, which was donated through a partnership between the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and the Psalm 139 Project, a pro-life ministry of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).

Late last year, SMPCC staff members reached out to representatives at the Psalm 139 Project to inquire about the prospects of receiving a mobile ultrasound machine. At the same time, officials at the Baptist state convention had also inquired about the possibility of placing a machine in western North Carolina.

Thanks to the generous giving of N.C. Baptists through the Cooperative Program in 2021, state convention officials worked with the Psalm 139 Project to purchase and place the machine. One hundred percent of financial contributions designated to the Psalm 139 Project go toward purchasing ultrasound machines and providing training for workers.

“Pregnancy resource centers do incredible work ministering to parents in need and advocating for preborn children made in the image of God,” said Todd Unzicker, executive director of the Baptist state convention. “Because of the generosity of North Carolina Baptists and our partners with the Psalm 139 Project, we are able to place a life-saving tool in capable hands at Smoky Mountain Pregnancy Care Center. We pray God will continue to use the staff at SMPCC and local churches as they continue to live on mission together.”

Unzicker joined SMPCC staff and board members, ERLC representatives, local church pastors and other state convention staff at the dedication ceremony.

“SMPCC has been ministering to and caring for vulnerable women and children for over 20 years,” said Elizabeth Graham, ERLC vice president of operations and life initiatives. “We are so grateful to partner with them as they work to serve their community and the surrounding areas. We know the ultrasound machine, the window to the womb, is such a powerful tool the Lord uses to show men and women the life the woman is carrying.

“We are praying this machine will be a vessel in which the Lord saves even more vulnerable lives. What a joy it is to be used as the hands and feet of Jesus as we hope and pray that abortion becomes unthinkable and unnecessary in the coming days.”

The SMPCC began when a baby was found in a local landfill in 1999. Today, in addition to two permanent locations that provide medical services, the SMPCC has a mobile medical unit. The unit travels to Asheville, N.C., and Bryson City, N.C., numerous times per month. The clinic offers free pregnancy testing, limited ultrasounds, a parenting program and more.

“Our mission is to educate, encourage and empower women and men to make life-affirming choices,” Golding said. “We are grateful for this wonderful gift of a new ultrasound machine, as well as the prayers and partnership of everyone who has come together and joined with us to help save lives.”