ultrasound of Juth

Reflections of a pregnant pro-lifer

Today, my husband James and I had a life-changing experience. For the first time, we witnessed first-hand the visual presence of our precious baby (let’s call him or her “Juth”) in my womb.

As someone who has been actively involved in the pro-life movement for several years, the experience I had today has drastically altered my perception of pre-born children (including my own child), and of the power of visual technology when talking about pregnancy and abortion.

As James and I progressed through our forty minute ultrasound appointment, the technician proceeded to tell us which parts of Juth we were looking at- his or her face, hands, feet, fibulas, ankles, spine, on and on. Not only did she identify the body parts, but she measured the shape, and position of many of Juth’s body parts in order to ensure that all of them were developing ‘normally.’

Upon leaving the appointment, two things really struck me:

#1: Juth is a unique human being.

Beyond providing a healthy uterus and good nutrition, I have done nothing to facilitate his or her growth- this is not much different than providing a safe house and good food for your born children. How many times have I explained this concept while training pro-lifers and challenging abortion-minded folk? So many times!

I always knew that I was speaking the truth because it logically and scientifically made sense. But when you actually get to see these body parts developing inside of you, it makes the truth reality. In this sense, it became even more clear to me that I don’town Juth, that Juth is not a part of me. Rather, he/she is a developing human being that has been entrusted to me. How is this any different than a parent raising a born child and ensuring that their child is safe and taken care of?

Upon seeing the ultrasound pictures of Juth, a friend asked me if I felt more connected to the baby after seeing him or her. After thinking about it, I realized that my connection to Juth was now clarified– Juth and I are two distinct persons. Seeing my child and having his or her body parts described to me helped me realize that my role, starting in the womb and onwards, is one of support. From fertilization onwards until our baby is born, James and I are the people cultivating an environment for our child to be healthy in–we are providing an environment in which he/she can grow and develop mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. From the moment Juth was conceived, I had little control over how he/she grew and now moves… (this was made real to me when I begged Juth to kick so that James could feel it and nothing happened.)

So do I feel connected to Juth? Absolutely, yes. But ultimately, I have come to more fully realize our child’s internal potential for greatness that has already begun that I witnessed through seeing his/her self-sufficiency in my womb. This mentality is much more freeing than how I felt-before- which is that I was the author of all things related to Juth.

#2: The power of visuals

As many people know, the work that I do with CCBR is often considered to be controversial because of our constant use of imagery, both of fetal development and abortion. We have often been accused of making women feel guilty about their abortions and have been encouraged to use slogans instead of pictures as though there is no greater merit to using the latter.

As someone who has been using CCBR’s methods for a few years, I first became convicted of their effectiveness while doing pro-life activism on campus. But, once again, the overall effectiveness of imagery was clarified for me when I saw photos of our baby up close.

I now more fully understand why ultrasound technicians are less likely to show abortion-minded women ultrasound imagery before their abortion. There is no way that a woman could in good conscience choose to kill her child after seeing his/her spine, legs, head, eyes, and mouth and after each body part is described to her in detail. There is no way she could justifiably continue to say that her child is just a blob, or a cancerous growth, or simply an extension of herself. Ultrasound imagery shatters the pro-choice perspective of pre-born children into a million pieces.

I have always known what babies in the womb look like and I am able to articulate parts of their in-utero development. But after seeing pictures close up of my own child and having his/her body parts described to me, I can say with full confidence that there are no words that could have fully done justice to what I saw. How do you describe to someone the delicacy of a pre-born child’s beautiful spine? Or the way in which he/she spins around during an ultrasound, or curls up in the corner? There are no accurate words, only pictures.

In the same way that I have more deeply come to know the intrinsic and indescribable beauty of pre-born children, I have also become more deeply horrified and disturbed by abortion, and abortion imagery. Fully understanding how beautiful pre-born children are must walk hand in hand with understanding how horrific abortion is. The reason I can appreciate the beauty of my child is because I accept and believe Juth to be a valuable human being, and it was amplified after seeing him or her. For this reason, I find abortion to be horrific. Because our culture does not affirm the humanity of pre-born children in the womb, it can justify abortion. How does one accurately describe the bloody, liquidation of a human child in the womb? There are no words, only pictures.

Have you ever seen a beautiful painting destroyed? Doesn’t it hurt to look at it, especially if you know it’s former beauty? That is what seeing ultrasound imagery is like next to abortion imagery. The latter hurts to look at because we are in awe of the former’s beauty and capabilities. We cannot convince our culture of the horrors of abortion if they do not see it and feel pain as a result. They feel pain because they know intrinsically that that humanity is beautiful (starting in the womb), and they can’t stand to see something destroy it.

By showing our culture the destruction of humanity in the womb while affirming the dignity and beauty of pre-born human beings, we clarify for them what it means to be valued, and discarded. We will continue to shatter their ideologies: We will EndtheKilling.

This article was first printed at the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform and is reprinted with permission.  
  • Even though everyone on this site wants to act like women who get abortions are underage teens that is simply not true. The fact is that most women who have abortions already have children and know very well what an ultrasound of a fetus looks like. 

    • Kristiburtonbrown

      First, it’s easy to state facts without showing evidence of them.  I think you would be hard-pressed to prove that “most” women who have abortion already have children.  Do a number of them?  Absolutely, yes.  I’m not sure where you got the idea that any of us think that most women who get abortions are underage teens.  They are a segment of the women who get abortions, but they are also not “most” of them.  Here’s the main point, though:  if you can still get an abortion after knowing what a baby looks like and what a baby is, it’s doubly tragic.

      • ”  I think you would be hard-pressed to prove that most” women who have abortion already have children.”

        I’m not hard pressed at all. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/US-Abortion-Patients.pdf Check out page 8. 61% of women who have abortions have children. 34% of women who have abortions have at least 2 children or more. These statistics have been pretty stable since 2000.

        • Guest

          Seeing at the guttmacher institute is Planned Parenthood’s research arm, i would be suspicious of any statistics they provide. Do you have any other sources?

          •  What issues do you have with the research methods listed? Sorry that these facts don’t fit your preconceived world view.

          • Kristiburtonbrown

            Yeah, you definitely need a better source than Planned Parenthood’s own research arm.  They’ve been found pushing deceptions in the past.  Besides, regardless if somewhat more than half of the women who get abortions have children, the point remains that it’s doubly sad to kill your child if you’ve seen an ultrasound and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that who you’re killing is indeed a child, just like your other children.

          •  Yeah, because anything that doesn’t fit your preconceived notions and fanciful ideas must be some plot.

          • grdawg

            Clearly, you are choosing to remain blinded to the truth…this is apparent from your comments all over this site.  I pray you will one day change your mind.

          •  You are the blind one that doesn’t want to face the facts. Most women who get abortions already have children. They know how hard it is to raise kids and they don’t want any more.

          •  You are the blind one that doesn’t want to face the facts. Most women who get abortions already have children. They know how hard it is to raise kids and they don’t want any more.

          • Lauren

            I don’t have a problem with you using Guttmacher, but the correlation you made — that because 8.61% of women who have abortions have children = “most” women — simply doesn’t work. The 34% stat doesn’t even come close to the 51% stat that would be needed to = “most.” 

            PP is very aware of the risk sonogram technology poses towards their business. That is why they fight so hard against state sonogram bills. There is hard evidence that women who see a visual of their child will NOT choose abortion — and I can say with certainty that that number is “most” women. 

          • Realistic

            So when pro-life advocates use the Guttmacher Institute for facts it is reliable and when pro-choice advocates use it it is “suspicious?”

          • Lauren

            Guttmacher is actually a very reliable source, despite the fact that they are PP’s research arm. Like it or not, their statistics are accepted by basically every reputable Pro-Life organization out there. 

    • “Most women” know the son or daughter they’re about to have killed is a baby? You might wanna rethink that one; it doesn’t exactly help your case…….

      •  Never said what it looked like anymore than how one might perceive and ink blot or a cloud. But most women who have abortions already know what ultrasounds of fetuses look like because most of them have already had children. There are very few women in the western world who haven’t had an ultrasound when pregnant.

        • My point remains: what does it say about the character of someone who knows in advance about her son or daughter’s humanity, but chooses to have him or her killed anyway?

      • Margaret

        Well, Calvin, maybe she’s pointing out humankind’s awful ability to selectively see what we want to see and disregard the rest.  After all, slave owners didn’t need any special technology to see the humanity of the people they were abusing and brutalizing.  They just managed to do whatever kind of moral contortions they needed to, and kept going. 

        It would horrify me, but not surprise me, to learn that many of the women who are having abortions in this country have already had children.  Our ability to lie to ourselves is nearly infinite, unfortunately…

        • Laura

          It does not surprise me either seeing that our society has already stooped so low as to brutally murder the most innocent and defenseless of beings. One would think that the words “human” and “person” would be synonyms, but according to Roe v. Wade they are not. This is the biggest tragedy of our time.

  • Lauren

    I’m a pregnant pro-life activist as well. I’ve been in the movement 11 years (since I was 13) and worked for several different pro-life organizations. I can agree with everything you’re saying. At 30 weeks, it’s been an incredible mystery to me (one that, like you, I always taught but never had first-hand experience with) that a human being can develop so perfectly without me doing a thing — not one thing — to facilitate it. The visuals, too, are a remarkable advantage. What struck me the most in my first ultrasound back in November was seeing the heartbeat– that struck me even more than hearing it did. Watching a heart that had already been perfectly developed at 8 weeks beat so rhythmically and methodically was mind-boggling! 

  • Sharon Gilman

    Please, PLEASE don’t actually name the baby Juth…Lol, I’m sorry, but that was my very first reaction. The article is fantastic though.

  • GiselleN

    “In the same way that I have more deeply come to know the intrinsic and
    indescribable beauty of pre-born children, I have also become more
    deeply horrified and disturbed by abortion, and abortion imagery. Fully
    understanding how beautiful pre-born children are must walk hand in hand
    with understanding how horrific abortion is.”

    I felt the same way during my pregnancy with my son. After we had our ultrasound at 19 weeks, I could not wrap my mind around the fact that other people might be viewing ultrasounds of babies and wish to kill them. It seriously haunted me and there were times I couldn’t sleep. It’s so incredibly sad, and I really believe that if more people saw what human development is like and what abortion really does, then the vast majority wouldn’t support it anymore. Unfortunately, however, so many people are willfully ignorant of the truth, which is crazy considering how much information we now have regarding human development.