By Colleen Rowan
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio—The Aim Women’s Center, Ohio Valley Friends for Life, in Steubenville, Ohio, has a new ultrasound machine thanks to the efforts of Knights of Columbus Council #3734 of Weirton.
The mission of Aim Women’s Center is to be the first place a woman, seeking an abortion, turns when faced with an unexpected pregnancy. By offering free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, options counseling, and community referrals, Aim strives to change a young mother’s fear of the future into confidence to choose life, Aim officials said.
“I am extremely thankful for the dedication and service the Knights of Columbus Council #3734 Weirton provided our center with the donation of a new ultrasound machine,” said Christi Aborn, executive director. “It is very exciting for us as we continue to provide caring and compassionate service to women who are faced with an unplanned pregnancy.”
The machine was dedicated at a ceremony at the center May 23. A plaque, presented at the ceremony, states: “Ultrasound donated to the Aim Women’s Center by Knights of Columbus Supreme Council, Ultrasound Initiative Program, Sponsored by K of C Weirton Council #3734.” Also listed are additional donors.
The Weirton council brought the ultrasound machine to Aim through the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council Ultrasound Initiative Project, a nationwide endeavor pledging 1,000 machines for centers like Aim throughout the country—covering half of the cost of each machine.
The Supreme Council has already surpassed its goal, and is continuing the initiative. “And the goal is to save 1 million lives,” said Scott Nale, state deputy of the West Virginia Knights of Columbus. “The expectation is that each of those ultrasound machines can save 1,000 lives.”
Lives can be saved with the machines by showing mothers clear images of their unborn babies, said James Wurzler, director of development for Aim. “Not only does it produce a higher quality image than ever before,” he said, “but it also allows the mother to hear the baby’s heartbeat. So, it’s more that the mother will be able to experience.”
Ultimately, Aim officials are hoping that this machine will help even more women to choose life.
“Last year, 125 women seeking an abortion found the courage to choose life after engaging in our ministries,” Wurzler said, noting that the total for the past two years is 265. This is due in part by a change the center made a few years ago. In addition to focusing on the life of the baby, Aim also started to focus on the mother and how finding herself in an unexpected pregnancy can be a traumatic and scary event for her. Aim helps her see that she is not alone. “We acknowledge what they are going through, we will be there with you,” Wurzler said. “Being there with them, loving them, praying with them really enables them to make a choice for life.”
The Knights of Columbus, just like the Catholic Church, values all life in all stages from conception to natural death, Nale said. And the Supreme Council’s ultrasound initiative project is an opportunity to save the most vulnerable lives—unborn babies. “We know that our culture does not place a value on these unborn lives,” Nale said, “so we need to step in and do our part.”
Lawrence De Rosa, chairman of the local initiative and financial secretary for Knights of Columbus Council #3734 of Weirton, said the cost of an ultrasound machine is $48,000. Through a negotiated price of a trade-in machine, the cost for the Aim Center’s device was $24,000. The Supreme Council funded 50 percent of the cost and the rest was provided through councils’ donations and through other donors.
De Rosa noted that an anonymous donor contacted him and asked how much was left to cover the cost. He told the individual it was $2,000. The anonymous donor then told him he would have a check for the full amount.
De Rosa said the knights are now looking at placing a second machine.
“We’re working through the councils to place another machine as soon as we can. This one will be in the Charleston area,” he said.
Knights of Columbus councils and assemblies that contributed to the ultrasound machine for the Aim Center with Council #3734 were: Morgantown #16837; Beckley Council #5657; Beckley Assembly #1523; Chester Council #15486; Weirton Assembly #1194; Follansbee Council #11919; Elkins Council #603; Moundsville Council #1907; and Steubenville Council #11828. Other donors were: Immaculate Conception Parish’s Men’s Club, New Cumberland; anonymous donor from Sacred Heart Parish, Chester; three anonymous donors from Immaculate Conception; and three anonymous donors from Council #3734 Weirton. They are also listed on the plaque at the center.
The Aim Women’s Center is located at 248 N. 5th St., Steubenville. For more information about the center, call (740) 283-3636 or visit https://www.ohiovalleyfriendsfor life.org/
Knights of Columbus Bring Ultrasound Machine to Women’s Center
By Colleen Rowan