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Ultrasound techniques and images shared at conference

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September 26, 2011

By Mary Caffrey Knapke

DAYTON DEANERY — An ongoing legislative battle was brought to life at the eighth annual Pro-Life Science & Technology Conference, held Sept. 10 at the Engineers Club of Dayton. In ultrasound images ranging from grainy black-and-white to three-dimensional sepia tones, Maureen McDaniel detailed her experiences as a sonographer in the presentation “Impact of Ultrasound on the Abortion-Minded Patient,” highlighting issues that lie at the center of the “Heartbeat Bill,” which bans the termination of any pregnancy in which a heartbeat can be detected. The Ohio House passed the bill in June, while the Ohio Senate is expected to vote this fall.


McDaniel works as sonographer and recently started her own company, Sonolution, LLC. She is also executive director of the Ohio Medical Ultrasound Society and volunteers as a sonographer at Pregnancy Center East. During her presentation, McDaniel said that seeing and hearing a fetal heartbeat — typically present at week six of the pregnancy  —  is often “a turning point” for most mothers. Another technique that impresses pregnant women is color Doppler measurements, which show movement “like radar on a weather map.”


Such techniques are important because they help medical professionals educate patients about the rapid development taking place inside the womb, McDaniel said. “You can’t dictate what decision they’re going to make, but you can at least help them make an informed decision.”


She pointed out various stages of development during pregnancy, including the six-week markers of brain activity and developing eyes, fingers and toes. A heartbeat can be detected at the six-week stage though the fetus typically measures three millimeters or about one-tenth of an inch.


“I have always been pro-life; however, when you see those babies day after day, it’s easier to know they are living human beings,” she wrote in an email message after the conference.


McDaniel’s presentation came 10 days ahead of the Heartbeat Bill Rally organized by Faith2Action, an organization based in North Royalton, Ohio. Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati is another organization that works in support of the Heartbeat Bill, and Executive Director Paula Westwood also serves on the Pro-Life Science & Technology Conference Committee.


 “While protections from first spark of life in conception are always the goal, the Heartbeat Bill — which protects unborn babies as early as six weeks gestation — is a good first step to save 90 to 95 percent of unborn children targeted by abortion in the state,” Westwood said.


About the Pro-Life Science & Technology conference, Westwood added that it “highlights the intelligent and credible work that subject matter experts in bioethics are doing to address immoral assaults on life at all levels of human development. We hope that attendees leave enlightened, energized to continue their own efforts to protect the sanctity of human life, and also hopeful because of those who they heard at the conference giving witness to the truth.”


Other presentations at the conference included “It’s a Sin Not to ‘Do It’: The Dangers of Worldwide Population Decline” by Father David J. Endres, an assistant professor of church history and historical theology at the Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. Father Endres’s presentation noted a sharp increase in world population beginning around 1950, due to advances in medical technology that helped to lower mortality rates. Today, nearly 7 billion people inhabit the earth, with the largest total populations in China and India. The United States ranks a distant third in total population with 312 million people.


Father Endres’s presentation drew, in part, from the work of Steven W. Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, which works to “debunk the myth of overpopulation” and “expose the relentless promotion of abortion, abortifacient contraception, and chemical and surgical sterilization” and “promote pro-natal and pro-family attitudes, laws, and policies worldwide,” according to its website. Mosher’s books include Population Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefits. The author will visit Dayton on Oct. 19, at 3:30 p.m. at Sinclair Community College, and 7 p.m. at St. Albert the Great Parish.


For more information on the Pro-Life Science & Technology Conference, visit www.prolifetechnology.org.  

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