Knights of Columbus donate high-tech ultrasound machine
By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
BETTENDORF — “There’s the femur,” said registered nurse Pam Galanius, pointing to an image of an unborn child on an ultrasound monitor in a darkened room at the Women’s Choice Center. The light from the screen illuminated the faces of her colleagues and local Knights of Columbus. She clicked on the next image. “He’s yawning! Isn’t that precious!” she said.
The fine details in the images brought her to the point of tears. She believes the new ultrasound machine, donated by Knights of Columbus, will encourage women with unplanned pregnancies to see their babies as more than tissue.
Galanius, the clinical director of the Women’s Choice Center, said the new ultrasound machine may have already saved the life of an unborn child. The day before the official unveiling of the machine Oct. 19, an abortion-minded woman near the end of her first trimester of pregnancy walked into the center.
Upon seeing the ultrasound images on the screen, the woman immediately changed her mind. Jessica Ricke, development director, recalled the woman’s words: “That’s a baby! I can’t terminate that!”
Stories like this demonstrate what the pro-life Women’s Choice Center aims to do: save lives of the unborn, and help parents facing unplanned pregnancies to explore life-giving options and feel supported before and after the baby’s birth.
It’s also the reason local Knights of Columbus councils chose to raise funds for the ultrasound machine. Currently, the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus matches donations raised at the local level for the purchase of ultrasound machines for pro-life health centers.
“We know that when women considering abortion actually see an image of their baby within their womb on an ultrasound machine, 92 percent of the time they will not abort their unborn child,” said Jack Swan, past Grand Knight of Allouez Council 658 in Rock Island, Ill.
He said the Loras Council in Davenport, as well as several Knights councils in Illinois, raised about $23,000 for the ultrasound machine. This came from council funds, as well as from individual Knights. The Women’s Choice Center purchased the new machine for around $44,000 from SAOTE, a company that only sells ultrasound machines to pro-life entities, and does so at a discount, said Women’s Choice Center Executive Director Vicki Tyler.
She said it was an answer to a prayer; the Women’s Choice Center has two ultrasound rooms, but one of the ultrasound machines has been traveling in the center’s mobile medical unit, leaving one room without an ultrasound machine.
Women’s Choice Center supporters weren’t sure how they’d be able to afford a third ultrasound machine. “We knew God was going to work it out. We knew he’d provide. And he has (through the Knights),” Tyler said.
The technological capabilities of the new ultrasound machine were an unexpected bonus; the other machines are about 9 years old. The new machine shows more realistic images than the other models. Currently, the ultrasound shows 2D images; parts for 3D and 4D images are on their way.
“It’s incredible, and we are blessed to be able to share (its images) with the women who come here,” Tyler said.