Since 2009, the Knights of Columbus have run a program through which they donate ultrasound machines to pro-life pregnancy centers in a bid to give more women an alternative to abortion. The program, called “In His Image,” provides matching grants to crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in order to repair or replace ultrasound machines. They also provide assistance setting up the machines, which cost about $30,000 each.
On the website for “In His Image,” the Knights explain the reason behind the operation:
“No aspect of changes in the Pregnancy Resource Center movement has had a more significant impact on their life-saving work than the addition of ultrasound technology,” the page says. “Industry sources report that over 90 percent of expectant mothers considering abortion choose life after they meet their baby via ultrasound.”
Last week, “In His Image” reached a milestone when they donated their 1,000th ultrasound machine to the newly opened Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic in Manassas, Virginia. The delivery was officially made in a January 14 event that brought together Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, and officials of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington.
The Arlington Catholic Herald notes that the Mother of Mercy clinic was once the site of Amethyst Health Center for Women abortion facility, which closed in 2015 and was quickly bought by the local Catholic BVM Foundation. From there, Catholic Charities took on the task of transforming the site from an abortion clinic to the exact opposite.
Now, The Mother of Mercy clinic provides prenatal care, adoption assistance, a post-abortion ministry and more at no cost. Their staff of 209 registered volunteers — including primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, cardiologists, an obstetrician, a pulmonologist, an orthopedic doctor, a chiropractor, and a pharmacist — care for about 70 patients a week.
One patient, Lauren, said she visited the center after realizing she had an unplanned pregnancy. When she went to Mother of Mercy, she had been leaning towards the idea of giving the child up for adoption, but then she saw her baby through the lens of the Knights-sponsored ultrasound:
“The only way I can describe it is that it changed me in the blink of an eye. The moment I saw my child on the big screen in front of me, I knew I was going to be a mom. It did not matter what I had thought before — all that mattered was loving my child and caring about her safety. I saw her little feet and little arms. I heard her heartbeat as I watched her in front of me.”
With the latest donation, the Knights of Columbus have provided an ultrasound machine in every state across the nation, as well as in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Canada, Jamaica, Peru, and Africa. Supreme Knight Anderson, however, was not one to rest on his laurels, saying, “There are still many more milestones ahead of us in the lives of thousands of vulnerable unborn children. Our Ultrasound Initiative must continue to expand into every community where it is needed.”
Bishop Burbidge, who blessed the machine during the ceremony, commented:
“We want to do everything we can to promote the gospel of life, but ultimately it’s entrusting our work and our intentions to the Lord. It’s ultimately his work and upon his grace that we must depend.”