As states rack up legislative victories in the battle to defend preborn babies with beating hearts, an infantry of pro-life soldiers are preparing to mount a bold follow-on offensive right in the heart of New York City.
Broadcasting a live, 4D ultrasound of a third-trimester baby on jumbotrons in Midtown Manhattan’s Times Square.
“We care too much about women and we care too much about their children to let this happen on our watch,” Focus on the Family’s Robyn Chambers told The Daily Wire.
Focus on the Family is an American Christian conservative organization based in Colorado.
Chambers works as the organization’s executive director of its "Advocacy for Children" program, and has been a pro-life supporter for 20 years.
She described New York’s Reproductive Health Act, passed in late January, as a “line in the sand” that motivated Focus’ launch of a 12-week, pro-life campaign called “See Life Clearly.”
The grand finale for the campaign is scheduled for May 4.
In addition to the live ultrasound, the “Alive From New York” event will include musical entertainment and speakers.
To safeguard the mother’s identity, the scan will take place in a mobile medical unit. It will be performed by a physician with a registered diagnostic medical sonographer assisting the physician.
Jake Roberson, a social media manager for Focus on the Family, hatched the brainchild for live-broadcasting an ultrasound about a year ago, and the idea grew legs when New York passed legislation in January permitting abortion up to the moment of birth in some cases.
“When you see a [4D] ultrasound, it’s very, very hard not to say ‘that’s not a clump of tissue. That’s a real baby.’”
“It’s a way for us to show the humanness and the dignity of that baby,” Chambers explained.
Chambers’ hope for the outcome of the event is to see a change in hearts and minds on the issue of abortion, yet she harbors no unrealistic expectation that New York’s egregious law will be instantly overturned.
Contrary to legacy media’s incessant portrayal to the contrary, pro-life advocates’ focus is not solely on the baby — nor is it solely on outlawing abortion.
“We are stepping into this for that woman and her child — not just for that baby,” said Chambers, who expressed her desire for women to embrace their true worth.
For Chambers and her organization, effective pro-life advocacy is two-pronged. It is something of a carrot-and-stick approach.
One prong involves legislative efforts to protect the preborn by codifying punitive measures related to abortion — that’s the stick.
The second involves providing loving, practical support for women facing a challenging pregnancy — that’s the carrot.
“We have to do more than just talk about this. We really have to put feet to this and come alongside [pregnant women] and say ‘I’ll walk through that pregnancy with you.’”
“Walking alongside” means providing physical, tangible support to women grappling with the decision to carry a child to term.
It often includes tending to financial and practical matters, such as arranging for accommodations, providing transportation to doctor’s visits, or helping to make an adoption plan.
As Chambers puts it, pro-life advocates must “start putting our feet to our faith.”
For Focus’ “Alive From New York” event, this means planning and conducting the event in a “winsome way.”
“It can’t be in-your-face. It can’t be aggressive,” said Chambers, in describing what she means by using a “winsome” approach.
Focus’ thoughtful approach includes anticipating the needs of men and women who may be impacted by seeing a live depiction of a third-trimester baby splashed across screens in the heart of the Big Apple.
“There are going to be men and women in Times Square that have made an abortion decision in the past, and we don’t want this to be a way they feel shame or condemnation,” said Chambers.
“This is a way just to show, again, the beauty of life, and we will have people standing by to help if there is the grief that comes from that ... We know that this is going to be tough for some folks ... and we’ll have people there to [help them] walk through what it means to find healing from that decision from the past,” said Chambers, who explained that Focus is working with churches and pregnancy centers to make that happen.
“We’re trying to be really grace-filled and loving when we’re showing this,” she added. “We want it to be a time of celebration. We’re celebrating life,” said Chambers.
Chambers is well aware that the event may meet with some angry responses from those in the pro-choice camp.
“We have to be ok with that,” said Chambers. “We have to be ok with not matching emotion-for-emotion when there’s anger. We have to be ok with taking a step back and responding in love and responding in grace and mercy.”
“Every year, the pro-life movement has been accused of not caring about the mom — that it’s all about the baby,” said Chambers. “[Focus on the Family] has always spoken out for that young mom, that young woman who finds herself in that situation. Our hearts are connected with her and we want to see her given the best information she can to make the best decision for herself and her child.”
For Chambers, it’s personal.
“I have two grandchildren alive today because of a local pregnancy center.”
“The pregnancy centers are on the front lines every single day. That’s how they operate day in and day out with that love,” said Chambers, who calls those who work at the centers “the true heroes.”
Chambers is working closely with pregnancy centers in New York and added that she wants the centers to know that Focus is “in it for the long haul,” including helping them with updated ultrasound machines and grants for nurses’ training, via their Option Ultrasound program.
“First and foremost, our goal is to reach men and women, change hearts, change minds, and to see the dignity and the humanness of that baby,” said Chambers.
“We’re not trying to start a fight. We’re not trying to be aggressive. We just want that woman to know there is a better option for her and her child.”
The Alive From NY event is crafted to visually demonstrate, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the preborn are undeniably human and to render rationalizing the snuffing out their lives ostensibly based on respecting a woman’s right to “choose” patently unthinkable.
Winning the battle to protect preborn babies’ lives requires both the carrot and the stick. Absent either, pro-life advocates will lose — and such a loss is too far-reaching and too profound to risk failure.