Editor’s note. The following first appeared May 6, 2006. It’s a wonderfully thoughtful story about a new way to educate the public written by NRLC’s Holly Smith. Some of the details are outdated, but the core is fresh as the day Holly wrote it.
If you’ve ever walked through your local mall, you’ve likely had your picture taken and seen it instantly appear on a t-shirt, hat or poster, surrounded by graphics. This was made possible courtesy of a young person trying to earn money for a car or college by working at the photo kiosk.
Just as likely, you walked right by, not giving it a second thought.
Now imagine walking through your mall and instead of seeing you and your family or friends in the kiosk’s television screen, you see beautiful 4D ultrasound images of unborn babies, full of life in their mothers’ wombs. Not only would it interrupt your train of thought, you would probably stop to watch it for a few minutes and it would move you.
The innocence of unborn babies and the amazing technology that allows us to see them at once at their most vulnerable, and at the same time, the most safe and sound they’ll ever be, and needless to say, cute as can be. All those thoughts flood the mind at once and one cannot help but be moved.
Mike and Maureen Nuzzi of Atco, New Jersey are counting on the impact of 4D ultrasound videos to awaken and educate their community about the humanity of the unborn child.
“Nothing speaks like the truth, and it cannot be hidden for long. We must use technology to give these babies a face and identity. The Civil Rights Movement and our response to photos when there is a famine or natural disaster show the power of pictures, and now we have vivid ones,” explained Mike.
In order to bring beautiful images of unborn babies to the masses, the Nuzzis rented a kiosk near some of the clothing stores for young women at their local shopping mall and set up what they call a “Truthbooth.” Basically, the “Truth Booth” consists of two 19″ TVs showing a 4-D ultrasound of a healthy baby in the womb…without comment. No money is collected, and nothing is sold.
However, there is literature available on where to get an ultrasound, help for crisis pregnancies and post-abortion help. Brochures explaining 4D ultrasound technology are also available. Volunteers are there to answer questions.
According to Mike, “This idea saves babies and women, and changes minds without being confrontational. It’s where young people are, and helps them make decisions before they are sweating bullets.”
In terms of what videos to show, the “Truthbooth” uses a 4D clip sent by GE, along with Shari Richard’s images used with permission. She is producing a new DVD as technology has improved so much since her groundbreaking “Window to the Womb” and “Miracle of Life” videos.
National Geographic’s “In the Womb” is an amazing video and is on sale at http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID=2692&itemType=PRODUCT&RS=1&keyword=in+the+womb.
However, when Mike Nuzzi contacted them for permission to use the images, they were only given permission to use the footage in isolated circumstances for educational purposes, but not continually, such as in a mall setting.
Staffing a booth all day, every day seems daunting, and initially the mall manager did want someone there at all times to avoid vandalism. A few lively senior citizens and a number of people from their church filled the need, and for the most part, volunteers ended up being scheduled just for opening and closing shifts.
“Fortunately we had enough people to volunteer,” Maureen explained. “People were enthusiastic and willing to adjust their schedules to help with this worthwhile effort to save babies lives and change people’s hearts.”
Because abortion is such a controversial issue, the mall manager requested no mention be made of it in the published materials of the booth. “Whiting out the a-word” was the only hoop the Nuzzis had to jump through, and since the focus of the booth was the beauty of unborn life, it didn’t detract from their message.
“Often people become cold and indifferent to the plight of unborn babies,” Maureen continued. “Seeing their precious little lives with this new technology jolts an awareness that has lain dormant for too long in older shoppers and provides vivid images of truth for the youth who won’t see this unless we do something.”
As you would expect, the response has been wonderful. When the Nuzzis first started a “Truthbooth” at the Echelon Mall in southern New Jersey two years ago, Maureen set up a journal so passers-by could write comments. The comments were 95% positive with “beautiful encouraging comments from the mall shoppers, of all ages.”
The local Knights of Columbus council liked the idea so much that they sponsored a “Truthbooth” for February, and invited the Nuzzis to have a display at the New Jersey Knights of Columbus convention in May.
And even the mall’s manager sang its praises and welcomed it back to the mall after a few months off.
The Nuzzis have set up a website, www.truthbooth.org, with 4D ultrasound images and instructions for setting up your own booth. Kiosk rental at their local mall, as well as mandatory insurance and an inspection from the local fire chief, cost the Nuzzis around $800 per month, which is quite a bargain when you consider the amount of people that walk past the booth in that period. Certainly, prices will vary depending on your mall, so I recommend fundraising campaigns for your chapter and approaching local pro-life churches and organizations to encourage them to sponsor the booth for a month.
Maureen succinctly concluded, “The Truth Booth is a gentle way to show how formed and amazing a baby is in the womb. The cost is nominal and time to operate is manageable.”
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