At Assist Pregnancy Center in Annandale, Virginia, a little technology goes a long way. A year after the center installed a brand new ultrasound machine, twice as many women have walked through their doors.
Jennifer Johnson, the director of outreach at Assist, explained that her center has seen 2.5 times more clients. In 2013, from January to August, they saw 79. At the same time, January to August 2014, they’ve seen 191 new clients. She said this increase in traffic can be attributed to Assist’s converting to more of a medical facility:
“We now have a nurse on staff,” she explained. “We always have a medical person, and we have that oversight now with the doctor, not that we didn’t work with that before, but it’s more of an oversight.”
One of the most significant changes was the installation of a new ultrasound machine:
“The decision was made a couple years ago when more and more pregnancy centers were going medical and the reason was because the need was so great and our mission is to reach those who are really abortion vulnerable,” Johnson said. “We just felt that God was calling us that this was the way to do it. Around the same time, there was the ultrasound law for Virginia, which played into it, but it was not the reason why we converted to medical and added an ultrasound machine.”
The ultrasound law she’s referring to was signed into law by Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) in March 2012. It required women to undergo an ultrasound procedure before having an abortion. Democrats introduced legislation to try and repeal the law shortly after gaining control of the state legislature, arguing it was too invasive.
Despite pro-abortion politicians and activists trying to demonize ultrasounds as cruel and unusual punishment, there’s no hiding the fact that the technology has helped save lives.
So, why would seeing one’s ultrasound deter a woman from seeking an abortion?
“They actually see it and they can visualize what their baby looks like, as opposed to, ‘oh, you know, it’s nothing,’” explained Johnson.
A common misconception among women is that their unborn baby is just a mass of cells. Sonograms prove otherwise.
Johnson shared a couple specific examples of clients who chose life thanks to these windows to the womb:
“We have a couple who went to an abortion clinic and they didn’t feel comfortable there. They left and they came here to see us and then and they went through the process of the pregnancy test and they did an ultrasound and the nurse walked them through and they just looked at the screen and couldn’t believe they thought of having an abortion. Then the nurse just walked them through their options and they decided to keep coming back for classes and how to parent and they started going to church. They had their baby recently so that was really exciting.”
“We also had another client who was fairly far along in her pregnancy, which is a little more unusual for us to see, she came in and didn’t realize she was pregnant. She saw the ultrasound and we didn’t know what she had decided, she didn’t really give us an answer. But, we followed up with her and found out she decided to place for adoption and go along that route.”
Johnson explained how this new life-saving technology is helping to promote a culture of life not just in their facility, but in Virginia as a whole:
“It goes along with the ultrasound law, just promoting and allowing people to see their child and make that decision from there – we’re not there to force them obviously into anything. To just allow people that option to see their actual baby, that’s not just tissue. Really giving them that control of the situation.”
The media has tried to paint pregnancy centers like Assist as “fake abortion clinics.” They trick young women into their facilities merely to persuade them to see their pregnancies to term, abortion activists argue. Assist responded in kind.
The barrage of clients to Assist proves that women are looking for resources to help them through their pregnancy. They don’t want to escape their child - they want to escape abortion.