Access to ultrasounds can decrease abortions

Julie McLendon says she can sum it up this way — it gets people to the point of decision even faster.

Back in April 2019, the North Jefferson Women’s Center (NJWC), a Sav-A-Life ministry, received a new ultrasound machine provided by the Psalm 139 Project, a division of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).

McLendon, executive director of NJWC, said when people come into their center, they sometimes already have their minds made up to terminate the pregnancy.

“It’s a huge eye opener for them to see the baby and hear the heartbeat,” she said. “It’s the moment when they begin to pause from that determination of terminating the pregnancy and decide to carry the baby to full term.”

McLendon noted that 60% of the time when a woman or couple sees their child on an ultrasound, they decide to continue the pregnancy instead of getting an abortion.

“We can help bring them to that even quicker with this new technology that can find a heartbeat as early as five and a half weeks,” she said. “Having the most current machine has allowed us to find earlier pregnancies and allows us to show life at conception much earlier. It’s been a huge blessing.”

For the past 16 years, ERLC has donated ultrasound units to clinics across the country through the Psalm 139 Project. So far, the project has funded and placed 20 machines, including the one at NJWC. 

Practical way to help

The machines are fully funded through direct monetary gifts and through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ unified giving plan to support national and international ministry causes.

Bobby Reed, chief financial officer of the ERLC, said the project is a very practical way for those passionate about the sanctity of human life to get involved and make a real difference.

“A lot of times people who become passionate about it, their follow-up question is ‘Well, what can I do?’” Reed said. “One way to be involved in valuing human life is to be involved in the Psalm 139 Project.”

Individuals can invest personally in saving lives and in ministering to mothers like those who come into McLendon’s center. The money donated to the project goes directly to funding a machine placement and therefore, to saving lives.

But the lives that are to be valued also reach beyond the womb, Reed said. “It also goes to the orphan or the foster child who needs a home. There’s a dual messaging there. Not only does that center help babies who are in their mother and need life, but they’re also helping moms who are scared for their very lives.” (TAB, BP)