by Bob Reddy, Florida Catholic (5/18/2012)
PALMLETTO â€“Â Within the first 90 days of a pregnancy a women cannot typically feel the life growing inside her. One of the best ways to help women make a connection to life is through the availability of an ultrasound at local pregnancy centers.
While some pregnancy centers have ultrasounds, several do not, leaving women to rely on places like Planned Parenthood, an organization which shows utter disregard for unborn children.
â€śA woman doesnâ€™t get the truth about life at Planned Parenthood,â€ť said Jeanne Berdeaux, Diocese of Venice Respect Life Director. â€śWhen a woman has an ultrasound, she is able to see her own baby. She sees the head, the legs and arms and the beating heart. The woman opens her eyes to the natural beauty of life.â€ť
Momâ€™s and dadâ€™s reactions to seeing their baby for the first time are remarkably similar. With tears welling up in their eyes, parents exclaim: â€śI had no idea!â€ť â€śI didnâ€™t know it was alive!â€ť â€śI didnâ€™t know it was a baby!â€ť For the first time, they marvel at the reality of the innocent little child, their child, who is waving, kicking, and even smiling before their eyes.
To help fill in the gap of available ultrasound machines within the Diocese of Venice, the Knight of Columbus took action to purchase the machines for the pregnancy centers. This is an extension of the national Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative which provides half the funding for the ultrasound machine while the local councils must raise the money for the other half. The local councils usually need to raise nearly $15,000.
The Our Lady of Grace Council 14717 based in Sebring and Avon Park, recently raised the money and donated a machine to North River Care Inc. in Palmetto which has been up and running since late April. The Our Lady of Light Council 10498 in Fort Myers, along with other councils in the district, also collected money and will be donating an ultrasound machine to the Immokalee Pregnancy Center in Immokalee. That money was donated to the center on May 13, Motherâ€™s Day.
Berdeaux noted these machines are filling needs in critical areas. â€śThis is an ongoing process as these machines require trained technicians and have other expenses with them. We work hard to support these pregnancy centers and make a difference in the community.â€ť
The Knight of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative started in January 2009 and seeks to provide medically certified pro-life pregnancy centers with the modern technology to monitor the health of babies in utero, and to allow mothers to visually experience their development.
Ultrasound exams, which are medically necessary throughout pregnancy for a variety of diagnostic reasons, use ultrasound waves to scan a womenâ€™s abdomen, creating a picture or â€śsonogramâ€ť of the baby in her uterus. Without the support of the Knights of Columbus, most pregnancy care centers would be unable to purchase the ultrasound machines, each costing tens of thousands of dollars.
The sophistication of todayâ€™s medical technology provides a â€świndow on the wombâ€ť said Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson. â€śEven from the early stages of pregnancy, a mother can see her developing child, hear the babyâ€™s heartbeat, and to recognize the miracle of the new life within her.â€ť
Before any fund-raising begins, the Knights councils contact the Diocese of Venice to connect with approved pro-life pregnancy centers. Berdeaux said there are efforts to raise money for additional ultrasound machines in the next year with the ultimate goal of having at least one pro-life ultrasound available in each county in the Diocese of Venice.
For more information about the Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative please visit www.koc.org/ultrasound or for information about local ultrasound initiatives and need contact Jeanne Berdeaux at 941-484-9543 or email her at Berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org.
(Photos: CNS File Photos)