TINYHEARTS 3D ULTRASOUND
Over the past 2000 years, Western society has progressively broadened our definition of what it means to be a human being. Two millennia ago, to be a “person” was to be a healthy, upper-class Roman male above a certain age. Children, women, slaves, foreigners and the disabled were all outside the circle of humanity, without rights over their own persons or lives.
Since then, our society has continued to draw the circle of what it means to be a person wider and wider still. At present, there is only one group of people outside this circle, children who are as yet unborn. Tinyhearts 3D Ultrasound hopes to contribute to our collectively drawing this circle wider once more, to include these little people too.
For decades, a debate has raged in Canada about an unborn child’s right to its own life. While there is much animosity on both sides, little has changed from the Supreme Court decisions in the 1980s which struck down the existing laws concerning abortion. Several different parliaments and Prime Ministers have declined to legislate or even discuss new protections for the unborn/restrictions on abortion, depending to which side of the debate one holds.
In any functioning democracy, laws are written to reflect the desires of its people. Our laws about any issue, including those concerning human rights, tend not to change until our collective hearts and minds do.
Historically, when our society begins to see a human rights issue clearly, we usually take the part of the weak over the strong. In this way, exploitive child labour and slavery were banned, universal suffrage adopted, racism suppressed and people with disabilities welcomed into the mainstream.
The difficulty with abortion is that there is no obvious “weak” and “strong”, but rather two vulnerable groups. On the one hand, the expectant mother who has conceived unexpectedly and fears for her future and possibly her health. On the other hand, there is the baby she carries.
All of us can picture a pregnant mother in our minds. The image is clear. But our ability to visualize an unborn baby or “fetus” is much hazier and so is our ability to relate to her humanity. The best that most of us can muster is the grainy 2D images from medical ultrasounds. This hazy image is a real disadvantage for unborn children. In past generations, when we as a society did not want to connect with those from whom we withheld human rights, for example children and the mentally or physically disabled, we kept them from the public view. Only once we began to see these people as people, did we begin to accord them their rights as people. Until the beginning of the 21st century, it was not possible to really see a living unborn child, but 3D ultrasound technology has made this possible.
In the heat of the abortion debate, violent images of children post-abortion are often shown to shock society into action. These pictures have not had their desired effect, because people reflexively turn away from them in horror and revulsion and their hearts remain unremoved.
At Tinyhearts 3D Ultrasound, we want to use technology to make the image of living unborn children clearer for their mothers and their families. In our studio, mothers see their child moving, sucking their thumb, “smiling” and “waving”. Anyone can see 3D images of unborn children by typing a request into Google, but there is nothing like the experience of a mother meeting her own child for the first time.
By providing our mothers and their families this experience, Tinyhearts helps them to connect with their baby. Our mothers repeatedly tell us how much more “real” their child is to them now that they have seen her image and seen her move. For families spread across the country or around the globe, we can connect them via a secure Internet link so that they can experience this moment live too.
For expectant mothers in distress, whether they are referred by a crisis pregnancy counselling service, adoption agency, a religious organization, a friend, or if they just walk-in or call our studio, we provide our full 3D ultrasound service free of charge. While we can and do make referrals, at Tinyhearts we provide no counselling ourselves, but rather we want to give each of our mothers a very positive visual introduction to the young life inside them. For expectant mothers who feel powerless over their circumstances, this experience is especially important to enable them to begin to reclaim the power they need for themselves and their baby.
At Tinyhearts, we enjoy being part of that experience.
From the individual to society as a whole, our belief is that as more and more Canadians see clearly the images of their unborn children for the first time and experience their babies’ humanity, hearts will begin to change. When hearts change, so do attitudes. Our goal is for Canada to be a place, not where abortion is illegal, but where it is unthinkable except in the most extreme circumstances, because the life that each mother carries inside her is so valuable and so human.
Brendan T.N. Caldwell
Tinyhearts 3D Ultrasound.