HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital and the Family Life Center recently partnered with St. Anthony High School on an annual event, “Window to the Womb,” which allows high school students an opportunity to see the development of life while in the womb.
The program was held at the Family Life Center with ultrasound technologists from the center and HSHS St. Anthony’s. Four mothers in various stages of pregnancy volunteered to have ultrasounds that the students could observe. The students also had the opportunity to see and hold fetal models of babies at different gestational ages to help illustrate the development in the womb.
All the high school students are part of the junior and senior religion classes at St. Anthony High School, which have recently been studying morality, especially issues of respect for the dignity of human life.
As the students watched, the ultrasound technologists pointed out various body structures, tissues and organs on the ultrasound screen and let the students view the baby's beating heart.
Afterward, some of the students expressed their amazement and gratitude for the experience. Isaac McDonald shared, “What we saw changes my perspective on life. I used to be pro-choice. After my visit to the Family Life Center I saw the importance of what family means. It was eye-opening. The little baby I saw on the screen turned my heart around.”
Sophia Clausius expressed her appreciation for what she learned. “The Family Life Center was kind enough to host us, but also informed us all that comes with an abortion. The emotional and physical trauma, for both mom and dad, is heartbreaking.”
Bridget Sudkamp was also touched by the experience, and shared, “The ultrasound is proof that the baby is alive and not just a meaningless clump of cells. It is truly horrific that our government allows such a beautiful, innocent being to be murdered.”
The students were given the opportunity to tour the Family Life Center and hear a presentation from nurse manager Angie Esker, RN, and Mary Hovis, executive director of Family Life Center, a not-for-profit ministry in Effingham. Hovis shared how the Family Life Center provides services to women, men and families experiencing pregnancy, parenting and related issues. She also spoke to the students about their potential role as “first responders” to someone experiencing a crisis pregnancy, as many young people in a crisis situation will first share with a friend rather than a parent or other trusted adult. Studies reveal that a major reason a woman goes through with her abortion plan is because no one told her she had other options or encouraged her not to.
“The biology of a human life in the womb is obvious through study, which can be done in a textbook, but it’s very impactful when we can connect that fact to a real experience,” said Greg Fearday, principal of St. Anthony High School. “It’s very generous of the Family Life Center and HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital to provide this experience for our students.”
Photo Caption: Alison Deters (center), ultrasound technologist from the Family Life Center and Maureen Habing (second from right), registered ultrasound technologist from HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital, team up to show students from St. Anthony High School the development of Marissa Miller’s 17-week baby through an ultrasound. Observing the ultrasound are (left to right) Evitt Nashed and Kenzie Kabbes (seated), St. Anthony High School students; Mike Janis, executive director of outpatient and ancillary services, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital; Father Adam Prichard, hospital chaplain; and (far right) Valerie Kemme, project leader for Window to the Womb.