Brenda Pratt-Shafer worked at an abortion facility for only three days before the sight of dismembered babies compelled her to quit. One thing she remembers is the way the facility never let women see the ultrasound screen. She wrote, “The abortionist knows that if the mother knew there was a heartbeat or saw the fetus (baby) on the ultrasound, she would probably change her mind about the abortion. When an ultrasound was performed at the abortion clinic, the screen was turned away from the mother and the sound was turned off so the mother could not hear or see it.(1)”
Pratt-Shafer’s experience is not an isolated one. Former abortion worker Joan Appleton says, “We didn’t show [the ultrasound] to them. The idea was to keep their anxiety at a lower level.” Read Appleton’s story here.
Former abortionist Dr. Joseph Randall said the same in a speech at a conference sponsored by The Pro-Life Action League:
[T]he women who are having the abortions are never allowed to look at the ultrasound, because we know even if they heard the heart beat that many times they wouldn’t have the abortion, and you wouldn’t want that. No money in that.
The abortion industry’s fear of ultrasounds is valid. Many pregnancy resource center workers have told stories of women determined to abort, who changed their minds after seeing an ultrasound. Workers at one pregnancy resource center said that 70% of the women who had ultrasounds chose life, whereas only 20% of women who had counseling alone had their babies. Cheri Martin, who works at a pregnancy center in Texas, says the rate of women choosing life after seeing an ultrasound at her facility is 95%.
Women, too, have spoken up about being denied the chance to see an ultrasound. One woman recalled:
I would later find out my baby had fingers toes a face and a heartbeat. That day I asked through tears to see the ultrasound. I was told no by the technician. I was told the only purpose was to date my pregnancy. I wasn’t allowed to see it. I asked through tears if the baby looked ok or had a heartbeat. The technician told me she wasn’t allowed to disclose information like that ….
The power of ultrasound is well-illustrated by another woman’s story:
The abortion clinic employee informed me that I would go to a consultation appointment first. Then, 24 hours later, the actual abortion would be performed…. They called me back, and the doctor gave me an exam and ultrasound. The screen was turned away from my eyes, so I didn’t have a chance to see my baby. I saw him listen to my baby with the fetal Doppler, but he wore headphones, so I didn’t get a chance to hear the heartbeat, either…. After the exam, I went to the front desk to schedule the actual procedure, but because they were so booked, I would have to wait another week… Every day I could feel this thing inside me was actually growing, but I stood firm in my abortion plans.(2)
The woman went to the facility for her abortion but was turned away because she had a urinary tract infection. The abortion was rescheduled. When she went back, she was turned away again because her pregnancy was too advanced. She was referred to a difference facility and made a third appointment for the abortion.
She was determined to abort her baby. But her mother asked her to go to a pregnancy center. At first she refused, but eventually, she gave in, just to please her mother. She expected the pregnancy workers to be judgmental, but they treated her kindly. She describes what happened when they did an ultrasound:
They offered to give me an ultrasound, and not thinking that I would be able to identify or see anything – just like at the abortion clinic – I agreed…. That’s when I saw it. I saw a head with a brain. I saw little arms followed by 10 little fingers. I saw tiny legs with two tiny feet moving and kicking around. But most of all, I saw and heard a beating heart. I lay there watching my daughter’s steady beating heart, and I knew that baby was my baby. Tears flooded my eyes. I loved that fluttering heartbeat inside me. I loved this baby, and I knew she deserved life. At that moment, I chose life for my daughter, and I believe by doing so, I chose life for myself.(3)
There are many other stories of abortion-minded women changing their minds after seeing an ultrasound. This is why abortion facilities hide ultrasounds from women.
1. Brenda Pratt-Shafer, David Shafer What the Nurse Saw: Eyewitness to Abortion (Mustang, Oklahoma: Tate Publishing & Enterprise, LLC, 2016) 29
2. Mike G Williams Thank You for Saving My Life (2016) 123 – 125