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Medical Experts Say Science Is Proving Pro-Lifers Right 

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Va., blesses a new ultrasound machine donated to the Mother of Mercy Free Clinic by the Knights of Columbus in 2019. Medical advances such as ultrasound are bolstering the pro-life position in the abortion debate, experts say. (Photo: CNS/Joe Cashwell, Arlington Catholic Herald)

WINDSOR TERRACE — It’s not just prayer that’s helping the pro-life community make the argument against abortion. Science is helping too, experts say.

According to doctors and leaders of the movement, advances such as the ultrasound are bolstering the pro-life position. 

Tests that show that a baby’s heartbeat can be detected at six weeks of pregnancy are advancing the pro-life fight. Scientific breakthroughs have made it easier for surgeons to operate on a baby still in the womb — increasing the chances that the baby will be viewed as a human being deserving of life.

“It’s not just faith-based. It’s science,” said David Prentice, Ph.D., vice president and research director for the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Virginia. “Over the last several years, science has validated what we have known in our hearts. We really have made significant gains,” Prentice said.

Ultrasound is a crucial component in the fight to save the unborn, doctors said.

“We have 70-80 percent success rate in our crisis pregnancy centers of women who come in seeking abortions and change their minds after an ultrasound,” said Dr. Lester Ruppersberger, past president of the Catholic Medical Association and a retired OBGYN in Philadelphia.

“They’re in turmoil. They’re so stressed out. Yet when they see the images, they realize that what they are about to abort is a human being, not a clump of cells. And they choose life,” Ruppersberger said.

An ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to capture images inside the body. They have been in use for decades, but the tests have grown more sophisticated in recent years, giving patients detailed images.

The number of abortions performed in the U.S. decreased 22 percent between 2009 and 2018, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Still, 619,591 abortions took place in 2018., CDC figures showed.

New York State has been nicknamed the abortion capital of the nation. In 2017, 105,380 abortions were performed in the state, according to the Guttmacher Institute. New York’s total accounted for 12.2 percent of all the abortions performed in the U.S.

Kathleen Gallagher, director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference, said advocates are using science-based facts in their efforts to save the unborn.

“There’s no doubt medical advances make it easier for people to see the humanity of an unborn child,” she said.

The pro-life position will continue to get stronger because there is more scientific evidence to come, according to Ruppersberger. For example, audio-technology advances may soon yield tests that can detect an unborn baby’s heartbeat before six weeks.

Gallagher added that it’s puzzling why the scientific evidence doesn’t persuade those who support abortion. She lamented the fact that doctors who have access to the latest scientific information that supports pro-life, still perform abortions.

“Doctors will take the time to save premature babies while at the same time in another wing of the hospital, doctors are doing abortions,” she said.