Mark Pickup

May 23, 2011

The city council of Rockford, Ill., was recently asked to vote on whether to allow a mobile ultrasound van to park near a local abortion clinic. It would offer free ultrasound services to women about to enter the Northern Illinois Women's Center.

In the interest of helping women make informed decisions about such an important and irreversible decision such as abortion, any reasonable person would conclude that an ultrasound service is a good thing.

Not in Rockford. The city council went behind closed doors where a majority of councillors voted not to allow mothers to see ultrasound images of their unborn children prior to abortion. Their action flew against the principle of allowing the free flow of accurate information to create a well-informed public.

Rockford is not unique. During my years of pro-life work I have come across people objecting to the idea of offering ultrasound to women at risk of aborting their babies. It is hard to understand anyone trying to keep women ignorant about the children they are about to abort.

As the Rockford example illustrates, it's still happening. Abortion advocates justify keeping women from seeing ultrasound imaging of the babies they carry by saying it makes difficult decisions harder. Precisely! Decisions to kill a human being should never be easy.


It is unfair not to provide easy access to all the information. It is condescending and insulting to think women in crisis pregnancies are incapable of handling the facts.

Keeping important information from people faced with tough decisions in not the answer. Allow women considering abortion to see the humanity of their unborn children. It's an important information tool when considering a decision so serious and irreversible.

Decisions made in a vacuum are rarely good decisions because ignorance causes error and regret. This is illustrated in post-abortion grief. Millions of women experience deep regret long after their abortions — when they eventually discover the true nature of prenatal life.

Offering abortion-minded women ultrasound and support services saves lives and helps to protect women's health.


In 2004, the American Christian organization Focus on the Family launched the Option Ultrasound Program to put ultrasound and pregnancy support services in cities across America. They report that 90 per cent of abortion-minded women who receive ultrasound and pregnancy support carry their babies to term.

Another group that provides mobile ultrasound services to abortion-minded women found a 70 per cent drop in abortion rates for women who used their ultrasound service. These numbers are staggering.

Edmonton's abortion clinic performs an estimated 6,000 abortions annually. Imagine the impact of a mobile ultrasound van parked near the clinic, just outside the bubble zone, offering to abortion-minded women free ultrasound by a qualified ultrasound technician.

Or imagine the impact of having ultrasound services at crisis pregnancy centres, or simply having somebody standing across the street from Edmonton's abortion clinic respectfully offering ultrasound imaging to women at risk of aborting their babies.

A critic of this idea may say that many abortion clinics already have ultrasound. True, but it is a tool for the abortionist to determine gestational age of the child about to be killed - and the image is kept from the mother's sight.

An ultrasound service, augmented by other supports, could have an impact on Edmonton's 6,000 abortions each year. Suppose half the mothers entering the abortion clinic took advantage of the mobile ultrasound service. If 70 to 90 per cent chose to carry their children to term - as has been the experience in other jurisdictions - that would save between 2,100 and 2,700 children annually.

If a third of the women about to enter the abortuary took advantage of the ultrasound service, 1,398 to 1,798 children would be saved. If only 10 per cent of the abortion clinic's customers took advantage of the service, between 420 and 540 children would saved each and every year. And if only five per cent of abortion minded women about to walk into that terrible abortion clinic took advantage of the service, that would still translate into 210 to 270 babies being saved each year. It's still successful despite terrible human carnage.


I have good news. The Knights of Columbus is committed to supplying ultrasounds precisely for this purpose in communities where abortion clinics exist. Government bureaucratic snags are holding things up. But right will prevail and ultrasound service will be established to help women make informed decisions.

God bless the Knights of Columbus and the children that will be saved from abortion.