Care Net Pregnancy Care Center of the Finger Lakes hopes to soon have a brand-new ultrasound machine, thanks to the Knights of Columbus of St. Francis and St. Clare Parish in Waterloo and Seneca Falls.
The Knights council is working to raise half of the funds needed to purchase a new machine, and has received word that the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council will match those funds, according to Doreen Teed, the center’s director.
An ultrasound machine is a critical component of the center’s mission of helping women who are facing unplanned pregnancies, and revealing to them the truth of the life growing inside them, Teed said. When women come to the center wondering if they’re pregnant, the center’s staff and volunteers first provide each woman with a free pregnancy test. If a test shows a woman is pregnant, she then can receive a free ultrasound scan at the center, either that day or in a few weeks, depending on how far along in her pregnancy the woman thinks she might be.
"The heartbeat starts five weeks after their last period, and 21 days after conception. A lot of people don’t realize that," Connor said. "It is just amazing to me that women might not even know they’re pregnant yet, and there’s this little heart beating in there."
The local Knights council understands how important an up-to-date, well-functioning ultrasound machine is to the center’s mission, which is why they’ve agreed to raise nearly $15,000 for the cause, said Connor, whose husband is a member of the local council. The Knights’ first fundraiser will be a chicken barbecue, which will be held April 18 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. in front of the Five Star Bank located at 1940 U.S. Route 20 in Waterloo. Meals may be purchased for $9 apiece.
"We think it’s great that the Knights do this. It’s a big help to us, and it’s a gift that’s very much appreciated," Teed said.
The Pregnancy Care Center’s current ultrasound machine is nearly a decade old and has had a few minor problems in recent years, Connor said. More troubling than that, however, is the fact that as of June 2015, the machine no longer will be covered by a maintenance agreement, and finding replacement parts for an older machine can be difficult, she explained.
Ultrasound technology also has advanced in the past few years, and new machines are better able to pick up clear images of younger babies than the current machine, she added. This is important because many of the women who come to the Pregnancy Care Center for answers are between six and eight weeks pregnant, Connor said.
"The baby is still quite tiny at that point. When you’ve got older technology it’s not as easily able to find a heartbeat, which we definitely want to show the moms. We’re hoping with the new technology it will be that much clearer," she said.
Connor and Teed both have seen women who had been leaning toward having abortions change their minds and decide to keep their babies after having ultrasounds. One such woman even came into the Pregnancy Care Center mistakenly thinking she could get an abortion there. One glimpse of her baby’s tiny beating heart, however, convinced her to continue her pregnancy.
"Her baby is a couple years old now, and she is just loving motherhood," Connor said, noting that many of the women who visit the center know they’re pregnant, but their pregnancy is almost an abstract concept in their minds until they actually see their babies. "So often women see their babies on the screen and that maternal instinct just kicks in."
The Pregnancy Care Center does not provide referrals for abortions, Connor noted. They do, however, provide support, classes and material aid for women who choose to carry their babies to term.