Students view a "Window to the Womb"

May 16, 2024 

HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital and the Family Life Center recently partnered with St. Anthony High School on their annual “Window to the Womb” event, which allows high school students to observe life in the womb in real-time. 

Held at the Family Life Center with ultrasound technologists from the center and HSHS St. Anthony’s, each student is in the room with a volunteer mother as an ultrasound is done of their baby. The ultrasound technologist points out various body structures, tissues and organs on the ultrasound screen and shows the baby's beating heart. The students also see and hold fetal models to illustrate development in the womb. 

Afterward, students reflected on the experience. Brady Hatton shared, “I didn’t know the baby’s heart started beating after 21 days; that’s crazy. My thoughts about life were drastically changed. My eyes were opened to the power of God and how he works through the lives of these babies; it is truly a miracle.”

Joey B. Trupiano was also touched by the experience and shared, “This experience, to say the least, was eye-opening. I used to think that things like abortion weren’t that bad but after I saw this live baby inside its mother’s womb, I was truly amazed and I completely changed my views.”

In addition, the students were given the opportunity to tour the Family Life Center and hear a presentation from Angie Esker, RN, and Mary Hovis, executive director of the 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. 

One student, Mary Scheidemantel, was impressed. “Before we went on this trip…I did not know what they did. Now I know that they are an impactful group of caring people who help other people through their troubles, using faith, good listening, and the love for life.” Calvin Sudkamp agreed, stating, “It was clear that this was a place of love and care; you could just feel it.”

Hovis spoke to the students about their potential role as “first responders” to someone experiencing a crisis pregnancy, as many young people 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. 

All the high school students are part of the junior religion classes at St. Anthony High School, which have recently been studying morality, especially issues of respect for the dignity of human life. 

“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, St. Anthony High School Principal. “It’s very generous of the Family Life Center and HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital to provide this experience for our students.” 

For more information about the Family Life Center, visit

Photo Caption: Some of the participants in the “Window to the Womb” project included (front row, left to right) Katie Kollman and Camille Wines; (Back row, left to right) Ava Walton and Addison Krouse, St. Anthony High School students; Maureen Habing, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital Ultrasonographer; Allison Deters, Family Life Center Nurse Manager; Kiersten Thoele, volunteer mom, and her 17-week preborn baby on the ultrasound screen; and Kallie Kabbes, Ella Swearingen, Cailey Dorris, Ella Johnson and Mia Schwing, St. Anthony High School students. 
Students view a "Window to the Womb"
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Vicki Macklin

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