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C.Anderson-Ultrasound_5502Archbishop Henry J. Mansell praises the work of St. Gerard’s Center for Life in Hartford Jan. 19 as he prepares to bless the pregnancy resource center’s new ultrasound machine. Dr. Theresa Krankowski, left, director of the center, and Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, look on. The ultrasound machine is the first to be installed in Connecticut under Mr. Anderson’s ultrasound initiative, by which the Supreme Council matches donations raised by local councils. (Photo by Jack Sheedy)

HARTFORD – Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus called the installation of an ultrasound machine in a local pregnancy resource center "a significant step forward in building a culture of life here in the state of Connecticut."

The ultrasound machine at St. Gerard’s Center for Life, 22 Maple Ave., is the first to be installed in Connecticut under a program that Mr. Anderson initiated two years ago.

The total amount raised to purchase the machine, according to St. Gerard’s director Theresa Krankowski, was about $65,000. Under Mr. Anderson’s ultrasound initiative, local Knights councils spearheaded fund drives to raise half the money and the Supreme Council matched it.

As about 100 priests, Knights, mothers and Archbishop Henry J. Mansell crowded into the small offices, Mr. Anderson said, "As Catholics, we know that the culture of life arises from the Gospel of life, from him who said he had come to give us life abundantly and from the woman whose yes to life made this possible."

He said each of us should build "a culture of life which will emanate into the larger society and influence that larger society with the values of life, the values of hope, the values of human dignity and respect and concern and mutual health."

He quoted Pope Paul VI as saying "that the first victim of violence is the truth."

He said Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion, "is based on a lie." He said a young mother recently e-mailed him an ultrasound image of her child in the womb with the caption, "We could see the heart beat at eight weeks!"

"What further argument do we need?" he said.

Mr. Anderson made reference to Dr. Krankowski’s earlier remarks, during which she said that Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers often tell pregnant women that their ultrasound services are intended only for women who want to abort their babies.

Mr. Anderson said, "So why is it that the right to choose becomes the necessity to have an abortion? Why does a woman’s choice require, necessitate the choice for abortion, regardless of how she reacts when she sees the truth of that child that she’s carrying?"

He suggested that abortion providers be asked if it is more profitable to provide abortions than to provide ultrasound services.

"But here we know that the gift of life is a gift, and we treat it as a gift," he said. "We don’t treat it as a monetary requirement or according to a monetary criterion, because we can’t put a price on a human life."

Mr. Anderson later told the Transcript that the ultrasound initiative has so far helped fund about 83 ultrasound machines in pregnancy resource centers nationwide. "We’re just beginning," he said. "It’s picking up. In fact, for us it takes a year or two for a program like this to get going, and so I think we’re just beginning to see [results] now."

Before blessing the new ultrasound machine, Archbishop Mansell said that Mr. Anderson’s new book, Beyond a House Divided, describes a national shift in attitude from pro-choice to pro-life. "The truth is becoming more evident," he said. "No woman should have an abortion if she’s having it because of financial concerns or material concerns. We will take care of those concerns, through our hospitals, through our agencies."

He said that years ago it may not have been possible to realize that the infant in the womb was a human being. "There is no excuse now for not realizing that," he said.

An hour before the ceremonies at St. Gerard’s main offices, Archbishop Mansell had blessed a newly renovated satellite office two miles away at 59 Eaton St., the former St. Luke’s Convent. Counseling and material support will be given to families at the satellite office, and the 22 Maple Ave. site will be used mainly for ultrasounds.

Michael Klinger, a Knight from Wethersfield Council 4193, was active in the fund-raising efforts for St. Gerard’s ultrasound machine. He told the Transcript, "The power of the visual in this age is huge. As Carl Anderson has pointed out, studies have shown that if women could see the life in their womb, 80 percent would likely opt not to abort it."

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.