By Danielle Cohn, Board Member, Massachusetts Citizens for Life
It is common practice in prenatal care that an anatomy ultrasound be taken between 18 and 20 weeks. This moment is one that mothers look forward to with both great anticipation and great anxiety.
I had last seen my little one at 10 weeks, when his or her heartbeat was undetectable by Doppler, and even then was brought to tears by the outline of the tiniest little human on the screen. But I was so eager to see how this baby had grown, in hiding, in my womb, the baby’s movements only sometimes subtly detectable. I was also excited for my husband to see our miracle for the first time. As the screen came into focus, we were both amused and amazed to see our little one reclining with his or her ankles crossed and hand up by the head.
As I processed this experience over the next few hours, and into the next few days, I could not help but sum it up as the unveiling of reality. From the earliest moments of my pregnancy I have mused over how much happens outside of our control, and in fact outside of our awareness. In the beginning, when all you feel is sickness, it’s hard sometimes to believe that it is even real. Yet, there on the screen, I was given a glimpse into the reality of what was occurring, the unfolding of a little life.
From my own pregnancy I have learned something new about abortion and the culture of death: I am convinced that many who choose abortion really never face the reality of this mystery, that many never come to see they are bearing human life.
I wonder whether in our society today, which is so adamant in denying even the most apparent and obvious realities (such as the fact that humans come into existence at conception chromosomally identifiable as male or female or the fact that we should treat each other as having the dignity of reason even when we disagree), the slightly more hidden realities are just too easily ignored and concealed. In other words, is it so surprising that we can evade something so wonderfully mysterious as the developing human person in the womb, while things so apparent have somehow become esoteric?
Abortion is, it seems to me, more so than I had ever previously realized, a consequence of the ideological veiling of reality. We believe that if we can’t see it, it isn’t real. Or that even if we can see it, if we don’t want it to be real, we can make it less so by asserting our will.
It is essential for the pro-life movement to consider these cultural realities and counter them at a deep level with manifestations of beauty, truth, and love … such as these sweet little baby feet.
Editor’s note. This appeared on the blog of Massachusetts Citizens for Life. Danielle Cohn is a member of the MCFL Board and a first-time mother. She has been writing for MCFL about her experience in pregnancy. See her previous reflection on attending the March for Life as a mother.