A Small Life, Larger Than Life

Image promoting Focus on the Family's "Alive from New York" pro-life event that is a part of its See Life Clearly campaign

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.]

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 7 months ago
Do we need to register anywhere to attend the event or just show up?  My  mom and I have our plane tickets already purchased.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

What happened to this week's Culture Clips?
Anonymous 7 months ago
I'm pretty sure a life is more important than "Culture Clips." I am 1,000% Pro life
Anonymous 7 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I never said it wasn't. But it's weird how Plugged In posted the weekly Culture Clips yesterday and now all of a sudden it's gone.
Anonymous 7 months ago
It's back.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Lyn Chartowich 7 months ago
Can't wait, what you're doing is very moving.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Darn. When you guys mentioned that the energy would go up a notch or two on May 4, I was expecting something related to Star Wars.
Anonymous 7 months ago
that's the spirit! -
The Lord of Popcorn
Anonymous 7 months ago
Lol. I was wondering how star wars was gonna fit into Abortion stuff......

-Some Guy