Knights aid pro-life cause with ultrasound machine donations
By John Gleason
Thanks to the efforts of the Knights of Columbus, a center that cares for the needs of pregnant women in Aurora has a new tool to aid their efforts providing information for the pregnant woman and her child, and fostering respect and protection for human life.
On Jan. 4, the Alternatives Pregnancy Center unveiled a new Philips HE11XE 3D4D ultrasound machine, donated through the Ultrasound Initiative Program of the Knights of Columbus. The machine gives doctors and prospective parents a high-depth picture of a child in the womb.
Peter Spagnuolo, director of Pro-Life Activities for the Knights in Colorado, said Knights’ councils around the country picked up on the challenge made in 2009 by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson that the organization should be more active in pro-life efforts.
“Women who are undecided about their pregnancy—whether or not to keep the child—overwhelmingly decide in favor of carrying the fetus to term if they see an image through ultrasound,” he said. “Use of this device is an active deterrent to abortion and what the Knights wanted to do was see to it that as many clinics in the country have such a device.”
In 2009 at the Knights’ national conference in Phoenix, Ariz., Anderson called for health-care reform that is abortion-free, saying that a system designed to save lives on the one hand must not become a vehicle for taking lives through abortion and euthanasia. He also pledged to expand the Knights’ initiative to place ultrasound machines in crisis pregnancy centers across the country.
“(Women) hear their baby’s heartbeat; they see their baby’s head and fingers. They know that their baby is a child, not a choice,” Anderson said.
Janice Vogt is director of Church Mobilization at Alternatives Pregnancy Center, which operates six centers in the metro-Denver area. Since 1982 the interdenominational faith-based organization has offered consultation and services to women in pregnancy-related crises. This includes a 24-hour helpline, pregnancy testing, ultrasound services, confidential consultation, adoption education, medical care referrals, financial and legal assistance—all free of charge.
“The pictures produced by the 3D4D machine are state of the art,” Vogt said. “People know that ultrasound has been around for decades, but the clarity of these images is like nothing else. The mission of our center is to let women know they have alternatives. This Philips ultrasound is another big step in helping us fulfill that mission.”
Half the cost of the ultrasound machine came from Knights’ councils here in Colorado. The program designated that the Supreme Council would match dollar for dollar any money raised by state councils for the purposes of buying an ultrasound machine. Spagnuolo said that after hearing the call to be more proactive, he began to contact the 141 councils in the state.
“I asked them to find ways to fundraise and donate to this effort,” he said. “We began contacting councils last January and the response was great. By August we were able to apply to the Supreme Council for matching funds and we made the formal presentation to the clinic on Jan. 4.”
With the addition of the machine at the Aurora center the number of ultrasound machines donated by the Knights nationwide now stands at 70, and the success of the initial fundraising activity in Colorado has spurred Spagnuolo to a higher goal.
“We want to purchase three more machines,” he said. “One for Pueblo, another for Colorado Springs and the third to serve women on the Western Slope. Our goal is to have one of these machines within easy reach of anyone who needs one.
“For a woman with a pregnancy crisis, we want her to have all the information available to her,” Spagnuolo said. “With the ultrasound equipment, the Alternatives Pregnancy Centers have one more tool with which to pass information along.”