MANASSAS, Virginia, January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Among the Knights of Columbus’ many charitable activities is a program to donate ultrasound machines to pregnancy centers working to give women alternatives to abortion, and the Catholic fraternal organization recently reached a major milestone in that project.
Launched in 2009, the Knights’ “In His Image” program provides matching grants to crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) across the nation to either purchase new ultrasound machines or replace old ones, according to the program’s webpage, as well as provides assistance in setting up equipment. Ultrasound machines cost an average of $30,000 apiece.
“No aspect of changes in the Pregnancy Resource Center movement has had a more significant impact on their life-saving work than the addition of ultrasound technology,” the page says. “Industry sources report that over 90 percent of expectant mothers considering abortion choose life after they meet their baby via ultrasound.”
This month, the Knights announced that they have donated their thousandth machine, Catholic News Agency reports, with the recipient being the recently-opened Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic in Manassas, Virginia. Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, and officials of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington all took part in a January 14 event to celebrate the milestone.
The Arlington Catholic Herald details how Mother of Mercy was previously the site of the Amethyst Health Center for Women abortion facility, but closed in 2015 and the property was later purchased by the local Catholic BVM Foundation. Catholic Charities helped complete the former abortion site’s transformation.
Mother of Mercy offers prenatal care, adoption assistance, a post-abortion ministry, and more at no cost. It averages up to 70 patients a week and has 209 registered volunteers, including primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, cardiologists, an obstetrician, a pulmonologist, an orthopedic doctor, a chiropractor, and a pharmacist.
“The only way I can describe it is that it changed me in the blink of an eye,” said an Indiana resident named Lauren, who decided to keep her unplanned baby after viewing a Knights-sponsored ultrasound. “The moment I saw my child on the big screen in front of me, I knew I was going to be a mom. It did not matter what I had thought before — all that mattered was loving my child and caring about her safety. I saw her little feet and little arms. I heard her heartbeat as I watched her in front of me.”
The Knights of Columbus are now responsible for at least one ultrasound machine in every U.S. state, as well as in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Canada, Jamaica, Peru, and Africa. But Anderson remains mindful that “there are still many more milestones ahead of us in the lives of thousands of vulnerable unborn children. Our Ultrasound Initiative must continue to expand into every community where it is needed.”
“We want to do everything we can to promote the gospel of life, but ultimately it’s entrusting our work and our intentions to the Lord,” said Bishop Burbidge, who blessed the ultrasound machine as well as the center’s expansion. “It’s ultimately his work and upon his grace that we must depend.”
The Knights of Columbus have also been in the national spotlight for the last few weeks after a pair of Democrat senators questioned a judicial nominee's membership in the Catholic group. The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday affirming that membership does not disqualify individuals from federal office.