Window to the Womb offered to local students
May 26, 2023
The program was held at the Family Life Center with ultrasound technologists from the center and HSHS St. Anthony’s. Each student was present in the room with a volunteer mother and viewed a live ultrasound of their baby. The students also had the opportunity to see and hold fetal models to help illustrate the development in the womb.
As the students watched, the ultrasound technologist pointed out various body structures, tissues and organs on the ultrasound screen and let the students view the baby's beating heart.
Afterward, students reflected on the experience. Amellia Bednar shared, “The ultrasound I saw was a 15-week-old. I wasn’t expecting to actually be able to tell it was a baby. When I looked at the screen and saw the baby moving like crazy, I was amazed. Seeing a picture of an ultrasound and actually watching them moving are two completely different feelings.”
Beau Adams was also touched by the experience, and shared, “Seeing this tiny baby that wouldn’t even take up half of my hand have a beating heart, arms, legs, hands and even the chambers of the heart was awesome. I understand why 80% to 90% of mothers who get ultrasound don’t go through with the abortion. How can you possibly kill something that’s waving at you?”
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, Maggie Broeker Wright, was impressed. “The tour of the Family Life Center was amazing. It was good to see a whole building dedicated to not only the unborn child, but the parents as well.”
Hovis 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.
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, 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: Allison Deters (left), RN from the Family Life Center and Holly Jansen (right), sonography facilitator from HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital, team up to show students from St. Anthony High School the development of Shelby Rine’s 23-week baby through an ultrasound.
HSHS Illinois Communications Manager