Mar 082005
 
Authors: Sara Crocker

A picture may be worth a thousand words, and that's what some anti-abortion advocates are counting on when women unexpectedly become pregnant. Increasingly, sonogram machines are being used as a way to deter women from having an abortion.

"It's a valuable tool," said Phillip Hendrix, director of Colorado Right to Life, an anti-abortion organization. He said Right to Life has recently purchased a sonogram machine to use in Denver.

Daniel Kessler, public affairs coordinator for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said the use of sonogram machines for this purpose is a dangerous trend.

"Planned Parenthood thinks that women need a full range of medically accurate information," Kessler said.

He said women need "all-options" counseling, which looks at a woman's options if she decides to have her child, give it up for adoption or have an abortion.

However, Hendrix said sonogram machines are not used to deter women from getting an abortion, but that it can sometimes be the end result. Hendrix said he encourages all women considering an abortion to ask to see their sonogram before making a decision.

Chantel Reed, a sophomore open option seeking business major, agreed with Hendrix.

"It's just something powerful to see the seed of life," she said.

Reed said she thinks that people need to take sex more seriously and realize the consequences of their actions. But, she said that if a woman still decides to have an abortion, seeing the sonogram photo may make her take more precautions in the future.

Kessler said that any woman seeking an abortion at Planned Parenthood must have a sonogram. However, he said viewing the photo is optional.

Shannon Young, a junior psychology major, said she is supportive of abortion rights and does not think women seeking pregnancy assistance should have to see their sonogram picture. She said if a woman is raped, that she should not have to see that.

Right to Life has not found a permanent place for their sonogram machine yet, and Hendrix said they are considering making it into a mobile unit.

"We have high hopes for the use of that equipment," Hendrix said. "We most definitely plan to use it in the future, we're just not sure where right now."

But Kessler was skeptical about the use of this machine.

"I think that if they want to be on the move, they should move toward offering comprehensive, medically-accurate information and education."

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