Growing up, you often look forward to that series of “firsts” — your first car and first date, and then your first job and first child.
Your first ultrasound, though, probably isn’t on the list. But perhaps it should be. I’m thinking about that now because of what I witnessed the other day, an experience that can only be described as life-changing.
I had seen hundreds of ultrasound images during my short life, but nothing like these.
These were pictures of my son – a tiny baby I have yet to hold or kiss or hug, but a son who I already love just as much as my other three children. There, on the screen, were his eyes, his nose, his fingers, his toes. There was his hair – his hair! And there was his little heart, pumping so fast that I could barely count the beats. On this day he was quite active in the womb, and we enjoyed the show as he seemingly did his best to hide from the nurse. He squirmed and kicked, rolled from side to side, and even opened and closed his mouth. I smiled in wonder and amazement … and then cried tears of joy.
Minutes later I walked out of the doctor’s office with a new perspective on life … and with a sense of bewilderment about the never-ending debate over abortion.
You see, this was our very first ultrasound as a couple. Our first three children were adopted, and although we saw all of them immediately after birth, we never saw them live, in the womb.
Historians often debate the greatest technological advancements of the past century, and I’ve got to wonder if ultrasounds shouldn’t be near the top.
Simply put, I now understood why pro-choice leaders oppose the technology at every turn.
It all reminds me of that iconic scene at the end of the original Wizard Of Oz, the one where Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and Cowardly Lion finally make it back to Emerald City to meet the Wizard, an intimidating green monster-looking thing who shouts at everyone in a terrifying, booming voice. He even lives amidst fire and smoke.
Or so it seems.
As the foursome tries to persuade the wizard to grant their wishes, Dorothy’s tiny dog wonders off and finds the real “wizard,” a suit-wearing, slick-haired older man who stands behind a curtain and operates the machine.
Dorothy and her friends see the man, but he doesn’t give up, despite being exposed to the group.
“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” he shouts into the microphone.
Column continues below video (it’s the best pro-life film you will ever watch)
But it’s impossible not to pay attention, and pretty soon, the “gig” is up.
As long as Dorothy and her friends listened to what the Wizard was saying, kept their eyes on him, and paid no attention to the man behind the curtain, it was quite believable.
And as long as we listen to pro-choice arguments, keep our eyes on pro-choice leaders, and pay no attention to that thing on the screen – a baby in the womb – then abortion, too, seems reasonable.
But the moment we look at that screen – that hair, those toes, that nose! – the pro-choice arguments crumble in a thousand pieces, and it becomes oh-so-obvious that abortion really does kill a baby in the womb.
“Pay no attention to that ultrasound!” pro-choicers may scream in desperation.
But the “gig” is up.
Here are three life-changing but obvious lessons that were reinforced by my son’s ultrasound that apply to every ultrasound:
1. He is human. The beauty of ultrasounds is that they speak louder than any slick Planned Parenthood pamphlet or forked-tongue politician. He doesn’t look like a clump of cells or a blob. No, that image of my son on the screen looks EXACTLY like every baby I’ve ever seen or held. In fact, his heart has been beating since three weeks after conception.
2. He is precious. You can count on two hands the number of people in the world who don’t smile when they see a baby. Heck, even the tattooed guys at the Sturgis motorcycle rally will grin. Each baby is like a snowflake – distinctive and irreplaceable. When our society supports abortion, we’re not just killing a life, but a unique life – what the Psalmist calls a life “wonderfully made” by God. This isn’t an ant on the sidewalk or a butterfly on the windshield. No, this is something that looks like a baby and moves like a baby. That’s because it is a baby.
3. He is a “life.” And, yes, a person. My son is in the third trimester, fully viable, and would survive today if born. But that matters little to Supreme Court precedent, which grants him absolutely no legal protection until birth. Mind you, geographically he’s only about four inches from having rights, but for him, that might as well be four light years. That four inches is the difference between the Supreme Court considering him property … and a person. While that may hold up as logical in a courtroom, in the court of common sense and public opinion, it’s a disaster – at least for pro-choicers. That’s because my tiny son – and thousands like him on ultrasounds – are the mighty army pro-choicers have always feared. They can’t yet talk, but they are speaking loudly … and winning.
Note: I penned this more than two months ago. My son has since been born … and is healthy.
Michael Foust is an editor and writer who blogs about parenting and fatherhood. He loves his family and also really likes college football, midnight debuts of Star Wars movies and pretty much any 80s group that involved big, wild-looking hair. Interested in re-posting this in your publication or on your blog? Email me: michaelfoust (at) gmail.com. Also, check out my video section.