National Right to Life
When the speakers mentioned ultrasounds I instantly thought back to a lovely piece that appeared at “First Things” online. “Visualizing the Human” was written by Victor Lee Austin and is a morally imaginative way of talking about how the revelatory power of ultrasound is expanding our visual imagination.
Austin, a theologian-in-residence at St. Thomas Church in New York City, writes about his mother’s pregnancy when he was six years old. “I was allowed to feel [her “swollen belly”], and feel through it some particular bumps. ‘The baby’s kicking you,’ I was told.”
Adding enormous poignancy to his account is that his sister was stillborn and his mother died in childbirth. Reflecting back a half-century ago, Austin writes of his sister that “her human reality was more hypothetical than actual. I had, and have, never seen her.”
That is all changing now! Austin writes
“Every young expectant couple I know today, without exception, when they have a prenatal visit, hope they will get to see the baby. Every baby’s photo book today has a sonogram for its first picture. The first pictures, and there are often many of them, are prenatal.
“And it is changing how parents talk about their child. ‘Our little guy,’ one couple recently told me, ‘he’s as big as my thumb.’ Or: ‘Our baby would now fit in the palm of my hand.’ They delight in seeing the baby’s limb, the head, the sex, even fingers. They delight in seeing the heart and looking into its chambers.National Right to Life continues
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