By Shana Schutte
In 2004, Focus on the Family launched Option Ultrasound (OUP), a program dedicated to placing 650 ultrasound services in pro-life pregnancy centers across the country. As of November 2006, Focus announced its 270th placement.
Focus is thrilled about the program's progress. Why? Because ultrasound saves baby's lives and helps protect women's health. OUP research shows that 90 percent of abortion-minded women who receive PRC services including ultrasound decide to carry their babies to term.
"Sue," 33 and drug addicted is one of those women. When she visited LifeChoices Medical Clinic in Joplin , Missouri OUP's 200th placement, she thought it was just another stop on her way to a Tulsa , Okla., abortion clinic.
God had other plans.
At the suggestion of the LifeChoices staff, Sue had an ultrasound exam. Both she and her boyfriend were stunned. The test revealed what would not have been shared by an abortionist - an active, kicking, three-month-old fetus. Sue canceled her appointment at the abortion clinic and instead started discussing baby names. Another life of one of the estimated 6,300 saved so far through the Option Ultrasound program.
Sanctity of Human Life Director, Kim Conroy, is sold on the program's impact. "It's essential that women considering abortion be given factual information by credible medical providers. For too long, that information was given by the abortionists - the very people making money off of women's decisions. Who would be naive enough to think they'd be honest with these women about options other than abortion?"
Before joining Focus on the Family, Conroy directed a pregnancy center. "Hundreds of women returned [to our center] to say thank you for helping them carry their baby to term. None ever returned to say they regretted their decision to give their baby life. But many cried at the thought of how close they had come to aborting the biggest blessing they ever received!" says Conroy.
Benefits of the OUP program extend beyond families and their babies. Pregnancy Centers are also changed. As a center progresses through the process of acquiring ultrasound services, they discover unexpected benefits: increased staff capacity, budgets and marketing effectiveness, which all result in more lives saved.
With the average cost of an ultrasound machine totaling around $27,000, the chance to secure ultrasound services without additional financial grants can be daunting. Focus on the Family understands this hurdle and provides grants to fund 80 percent of the cost of the machine and the training necessary to launch ultrasound services.