New York’s Times Square is always a pretty bustling place. But come May 4, the energy will climb a notch or two. That’s the day that Focus on the Family will host “Alive from New York” in the square, including live 4D ultrasounds on the gigantic digital screen there.
Focus President Jim Daly says in his blog that the ultrasounds are capable of “powerfully showing the world that a baby inside the womb is fully human and should be given the chance to be born.”
Obviously, broadcasting ultrasounds could well stir up some controversy. Some protestors may voice their own opinions. Some skeptics may wonder if such an event can move the cultural needle regarding abortion—one of the hottest of hot-button topics for several decades—at all.
But I think it just might, and for one big reason: We’ll see an unborn baby’s face.
“There is no way a person it going to be able to say, ‘That is not a child,'” Daly told CBN News. “It is a child and we want everybody to see it.”
Working for Plugged In, I’ve often talked and written about the power of story: The movies we watch, the games we play, the TV shows we binge. We’re wired for story. Good ones inspire us, teach us and move us in ways we can scarcely comprehend. No wonder Jesus used so many stories Himself to draw us closer to God. He knew, better than anyone, how powerful they can be.
And one of a story’s most powerful qualities is its ability to take us into unfamiliar worlds and to help us understand those worlds—and their people—a little better. It’s easy to stereotype, demean and judge groups of people when they’re nameless, faceless constituencies: black and white, liberal and conservative, young and old, religious and unreligious. Too often, we lose sight of the people behind the labels we create for them.
But when we get to see someone—not a faceless group, but someone with a name, a voice, a story of his or her own—we’re given new insight and empathy. Many an Oscar nominee this year is predicated on that sense of fostering understanding through story. Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman and Best Picture winner Green Book all are predicated, in part, on the issue of race. And all, obviously, have their problems. All are very different movies. But all three films hope to take audiences on a journey that may, in some way, change them. And they do so by presenting audiences with a compelling story that they might not have seen or heard before.
So when it comes to the difficult issue of abortion, one of the main stakeholders—the preborn baby—comes in at an inherent disadvantage. The child is hidden, growing silent and shadowed in her mother’s womb. She has no voice. Even her face is obscured, surrounded by her protective, nurturing ark.
Today’s ultrasound technology allows us to lift that veil a bit—to see not a faceless fetus, but a child: Her eyes, her ears, her nose, her hands. Not a lump of formless clay, but a divine creation, a living work of art and beauty and promise.
We see a new story ready to be born.
The issue of abortion isn’t going away anytime soon. But perhaps the May 4 event will prompt some to pause. Perhaps even to marvel at the wondrous miracle of life. And perhaps it will show that those lives—so vulnerable, so precious—deserve full stories of their own.
[Editor’s Note: Focus on the Family would love it if you signed its Declaration for Life, a proclamation that, in the declaration’s own words, allows you to “be a voice for the pre-born.” Click here to read more and sign.]