Mobile ultrasound unit rescues '2 babies & 2 souls' in 1 day

Baptist Press
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Posted: Jul 26, 2011 4:22 PM
Mobile ultrasound unit rescues '2 babies & 2 souls' in 1 day
ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)--A mobile pregnancy care resource center may be relatively new for the Florida Baptist Children's Homes, but it already has become a strategic advocate for life and the health of the unborn.

"Two babies and two souls were saved" when the unit was stationed next door to a Planned Parenthood clinic in downtown Orlando in late June, Mary Lou Hendry, director of sanctity of human life for the children's homes, reported.

The two women intended to get abortions but instead, by divine appointment, each was able to see her baby on an ultrasound machine screen provided by gifts to the Psalm 139 Project of Southern Baptists' Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

The mobile pregnancy care resource center -- housed in a reconfigured travel trailer donated to the Florida Baptist Children's Homes last year -- offered its services from a vacant lot adjacent to the Planned Parenthood clinic in an economically depressed area of the city. The owner of the land granted the team permission to work from the parcel of land.

Few women came over to the unit that Saturday. Venturing into the community to encourage women heading to an abortion clinic to reconsider their decision can be joyful at times, Hendry said, but "it also brings you to a point of brokenness."

While the pregnancy care center unit was on site, 25 to 30 babies were aborted by Planned Parenthood next door, Hendry said.

Yet Hendry focuses on the "significance of the ones" who are saved, noting it is pure joy to see a mother accept Christ and reject the idea that her unborn child is a disposable inconvenience.

The mobile pregnancy care center, Hendry explained, is a Christ-focused outreach to women and their families who find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy and do not have access to a pregnancy care resource center in their area.

Although designed to provide ultrasound screenings, counseling and other services to women in areas struck by natural disasters, the mobile care center doesn't sit inactive until the state faces a natural disaster but is being utilized in underserved communities in Florida.

In May, the Florida Baptist Children's Homes team provided pregnancy care services and information to young women in an area of west Orlando which does not have a pregnancy care resource center.

"During the four hours that we were set up we provided free pregnancy tests, biblical counseling, as well as ultrasound screenings for women to confirm that they were indeed pregnant," Hendry said.

The outreach, called "Love Orlando," was in partnership with First Baptist Church of Orlando's First Life Center for Pregnancy.

"One young woman came by our mobile center who was 33 weeks along in her pregnancy and had not had any prenatal care," Hendry recounted. "She wasn't able to qualify for Medicaid and didn't have health insurance.

"We provided her with her first ultrasound where she could see her fully developed baby, which will be born in the next several weeks," Hendry said, adding, "It's always an amazing moment when you are able to show mothers the new life that is living and growing inside their womb."

The Florida Baptist team connected the woman with a nurse midwife to help with her needs through the remainder of her pregnancy and afterward.

The ultrasound machine, provided at no cost through the Psalm 139 Project, is an invaluable tool in helping to inform and educate women about their unborn child during a crisis pregnancy, Hendry said, noting, "She can see her baby's heart beating at the very earliest stages of pregnancy.

"It's important to note that nearly 80 percent of all women considering abortion choose life when they see their unborn child on the ultrasound screen," Hendry stated.

Carmem Carmo, interim director for First Life Center for Pregnancy, said the Love Orlando outreach not only was a way to protect the unborn but also share the love of Christ.

"Our goal was to reach lost souls with the love of Jesus through this very unique pregnancy care ministry," Carmo said. "We believe this project started in God's heart, and we definitely felt His presence that day."

In Psalm 139, the psalmist affirms God's intimate involvement in his creation, writing, "For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother's womb."

"We are on the front lines," Hendry said, committed to "bringing light into darkness."

This year, funds donated by individuals to the Psalm 139 Project provided a mobile ultrasound unit for the Arizona Baptist Children's Home to serve pregnancy care centers in Phoenix. Next, the project will underwrite the cost of an ultrasound machine and training in southern Louisiana, once sufficient financial gifts are in hand. Currently, there is a critical need for Southern Baptist outreach to women in crisis pregnancies in the greater New Orleans area. The Psalm 139 Project was launched in 2004 with the placement of an ultrasound machine in southern Indiana, with subsequent units placed in Florida, Arizona and four other states.

For more information about the Psalm 139 Project, visit psalm139project.org.

This article originated with the Florida Baptist Children's Homes based in Lakeland, Fla., and has been republished by the Florida Baptist Witness and updated by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net