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Seeing the Truth

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April 2018

We fear the darkness. We’ve feared it from our earliest days. As kids, we didn’t get out of our beds at night for fear that a boogeyman—or at least an alligator—was under it. At night, we hear those house creaks we don’t hear during the day. We shudder at the thought of walking alone in a dark alley or on a deserted country road. Our minds race; our hearts pound. In the dark, we can’t see the predators—real or imagined—just waiting for us.

We seek the light, and that’s been true from the earliest times, too. Light is a huge part of how we protect ourselves. But it’s even more. It puts us in touch with the wonder of all around us. That light at the end of a tunnel ultimately opens up to a beautiful world. God’s first creative act was to bring forth the light. Besides letting Him see what He was doing, the light let Him see how very good His Creation was.

For centuries, the mysteries of human life have been shrouded in darkness. Much of how we came to be was just unknown. A man and a woman came together, and somehow, a baby popped out from the darkness of the woman’s womb. Our ancient ancestors related childbirth to a stork. Back then, it was as good an explanation as anything else. After all, scientists did not discover the male sperm cell until 1677. The ovum in a mammal was not discovered until around 1827. Its discovery in humans came later still.

In 1973, the justices deciding Roe v. Wade had a limited knowledge about the creation of life. They knew about historical attitudes towards life, but they didn’t know much about its beginnings. They even said so in Roe: “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.” And in the shroud of darkness, the Court ruled that an unborn baby’s life could be legally taken.

Those working to legalize abortion took great advantage of the dark. It allowed them to tell women that an unborn baby was merely tissue, a mere clump of cells. One of those people was Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a New York obstetrician. Absolutely unmoved by the thought that human life is sacred, Nathanson estimated that he was personally responsible for 75,000 abortions. But the scientist in Nathanson drove him to learn about those “cells.” Once he familiarized himself with ultrasound technology, it opened his eyes and his heart. By 1974 he concluded, “There is no longer any serious doubt in my mind that human life exists within the womb from the very onset of pregnancy.” Having realized the truth about life, Nathanson became a tireless defender of life. Jewish at birth, Nathanson died a Catholic.

What Nathanson learned about life has been scientifically proven beyond a shadow of a doubt: life begins at conception. The beginning of life is not a matter of religion or philosophy or personal belief. It is a matter of science. And science continues to make amazing discoveries about life. We now know that at the very moment of conception, the fertilized ovum emits tiny sparks that produce a flash of light. It’s almost like a teaser from God, His way of saying: “Pretty spectacular, eh? But just wait around for another nine months!”

But for some people, the wait is difficult—and even frightening. When some women find themselves unintentionally pregnant, the darkness quickly settles in. Their minds race. Their hearts pound. And in that darkness, predators lurk. Not imaginary predators but real ones, predators like Planned Parenthood and other abortionists. Sensing the fear, they pursue their prey with the same words Nathanson used: “It’s only a clump of cells, a mass of tissue. We’ll fix it for you.” In the darkness of doubt and fear, many women fall victim.

Those who work in crisis pregnancy centers will tell you that most women don’t want abortions. They want help. And an invaluable tool for providing it is the ultrasound machine. Unlike an abortion, ultrasound is non-invasive and perfectly safe for mother and baby. Ultrasound works like radar. It sends sound waves into a woman’s uterus. When the waves hit hard objects, they bounce back to form an image on a video screen. In essence, the sound translates into light, and a woman can actually see the developing baby inside her. And with the coming of 4-D ultrasound, a woman can now see a real-time video of her baby.

Is it effective? A whopping 78% of women having ultrasound procedures reject abortions. Planned Parenthood and the others know it all too well. They refuse to show the images to the woman and position them so they cannot see the screens. PP has lobbied against proposed laws on the showing of ultrasound images and has filed suit to keep women from seeing them. The last thing PP and the other predators want is light. It exposes their lies.

Ultrasound machines are very costly, and for some crisis pregnancy centers they are only a dream. But for the Knights of Columbus, they are an initiative. Since 1884, the Knights have lived their faith by performing works of mercy for the world’s needy. In 2009, the Knights committed to fund 900 ultrasound machines for pregnancy centers nationwide. When a local KC council raises 50%, the Supreme Council will donate the rest. This spring, the Knights have partnered with our parish and with CareNet, a local crisis pregnancy network opening a new facility. Donations are being raised through monthly pancake breakfasts after Sunday Masses. It’s an easy—and delicious—way to help the Knights put a “window on the womb.”

On that first Easter night, Thomas was not around to see the risen Jesus. He had his doubts. They disappeared at the sight of Him. Thomas just needed to see the Truth. That’s how it is for many people; they need to see. It’s why God created the light. With ultrasound, we can bring the light to women needing to see the truth. Let there be light.


Paul V. Esposito is a Catholic lawyer who writes on a variety of pro-life topics. He and his wife Kathy live in Elmhurst, Illinois and have six children.

© Paul V. Esposito 2018. Culture of Life. Permission to copy and distribute for pro-life purposes is granted. Visit us at and on Facebook.

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