Heard on the Hill: Power of the Ultrasound

Posted October 11, 2011 at 8:18pm

This Thursday kicks off the national Voices From the Womb campaign in the Congressional Auditorium in the Capitol Visitor Center.

At least two pregnant staffers have volunteered to participate in this launch of the yearlong campaign sponsored by the Christian Defense Coalition to raise awareness about abortion.

Voices From the Womb will broadcast live ultrasounds from women who are in their first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy across the screen in the auditorium and in churches, schools, state capitols and parks across the country. There have been three smaller events in Idaho, Maryland and Ohio.

The story behind VFW started at a pregnancy resource center dinner in Boise, Idaho.

The center had just acquired a new ultrasound machine, CDC Director Rev. Patrick Mahoney says. So “instead of bringing in a well-known speaker,” the group decided to set up a “huge screen” in the front of the room with the ultrasound machine and a partition, he says.

Three women, one in each trimester, introduced herself to the audience.

“Back when I was born,” Mahoney says, “you had these boxy maternity clothes. … Now, they wear the tight tops, so you could see [the women] were visibly pregnant.”

After the introductions, the women would go behind the screen and lie down.

“The stenographer would show the hearts, the lungs” in the projected ultrasound images and “the people loved it,” Mahoney says.

According to Mahoney, more and more the anti-abortion movement has technology on its side.

“Thirty years ago there was a real argument about the humanity of the child,” but with the increased clarity of the ultrasound, he believes this is no longer a question.

At VFW, the audience can “connect to the mother and see the child … actually see it in real time. … [It’s] incredibly powerful.”

Thursday’s event is scheduled to run from 11 a.m to 12:30 p.m. to allow lawmakers time to get to the auditorium.

Mahoney wouldn’t tell us which lawmakers would pop by, but he did say several women in their 20s are participating in the event, including Mahoney’s 26-year-old daughter, who is about 17 weeks along with her second child.