Millions of babies have been aborted in this country since abortion was legalized in 1973. And the battle has been raging ever since.
But new hope is emerging for the pro-life side of the debate, as more and more pregnancy centers offer a window to the womb.
A Life Nearly Snuffed Out
From tiny images inside the womb -- to an adorable, happy, little two year old.
Her name? Elora, which means Light of God.
And her big bright smile can light up any room.
But little Elora's life almost ended before she was even born -- when her mother contemplated aborting her.
In a Heartbeat
"I was unwed," explains Elora's mom, Andrea Brown. "And when her father mentioned that he wasn't interested in being involved in the child's life…I didn't want to raise a fatherless child."
Desperate for an abortion, Andrea began frantically searching the telephone book for an abortion provider. But says she accidentally came across a pro-life pregnancy center instead.
Andrea said, "Tears were in my eyes. I really wasn't paying attention to where I was calling or what I was doing. Initially, I did think it was an abortion clinic."
The clinic informed Andrea that they did not perform abortions, but she could come in for an ultrasound to make sure that her six-and-a-half-week pregnancy had a heartbeat.
When she did, everything changed.
"When I saw the heartbeat, that made a connection to life for me," Andrea said. "I knew that if I made the decision to abort, that it would haunt me for the rest of my life. If I were to follow through with the abortion, it would literally be murder."
The Impact of Ultrasounds
Ultrasound machines now play a key role in the abortion battle. It turns out that the majority of women who were leaning towards abortion decide to carry their pregnancies full-term, after seeing a sonogram.
Pam Palumbo serves as director of the Severna Park Pregnancy Center in Maryland, which housed an abortion clinic for 10 years.
"We were given a 3D/4D ultrasound machine, said Pam, "and the amazing thing that we've seen is it more than doubles the women that change their mind when they're able to see their baby and see how developed their baby is -- and they actually bond with that baby."
Pam said, "Three to five women a week still come in here thinking that they're at the abortion clinic."
Pregnancy Centers on the Rise
And centers that provide abortion alternatives are on the rise -- now outnumbering abortion clinics.
There are more than 3,000 pro-life pregnancy centers in the U.S. -- an increase of nearly 30 percent since 1999.
And 561 of them offer medical services -- with ultrasounds as the centerpiece.
And conferences, sponsored by the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, help to train nurses in ultrasound technology as part of a strategic plan by some in the pro-life movement.
New Kind of Army
"We are training an army of mostly women but some men, who are day in and day out working with individual women on the front lines of this battle, and those women are choosing life because these nurses are trained in ultrasound and as we continue to grow this is only going to get bigger and we're going to see the abortion numbers drop dramatically in the next few years."
Nurses from all over the nation attended a recent conference in Norfolk, Virginia.
"We will be moving forward very quickly," said Becky Fitzpatrick, a labor delivery nurse from Sarasota, Florida, "because we see what a powerful tool it actually is in helping women choose life for their babies."
Registered nurse Sandra Coates, from the Keim Center in Norfolk, Virginia, pointed out the different features you could see in one of the sonographs. "This is an active 9- to 10-week-old baby. Here's a face, a head, and you can see two eyes, a nose, a chin and the jaw line. There's the body, inside. Here's the heartbeat."
As a graduate of the course, Coates sees the difference her training is making.
"Typically, women are usually staring at the screen, and a lot of times can't get their eyes off the screen," said Coates. "And that's pretty much across the board…I typically don't see women who say, 'Could you please turn that off?'"
Empowering Women to Make Informed Decisions
Meanwhile, these life-affirming centers say they're providing women with information to make an informed choice. But abortion providers claim that the centers harass and mislead women.
To that, Pam says, "They see the handwriting on the wall. They see that when women can see their babies and they see how far along they're developed, just even when they're tiny, the humanity of this, they don't like it."
And though Pam's Severna Park Pregnancy Center no longer looks like an abortion clinic, the room used for late term abortions remains intact.
Only now it's a meditation room -- with its walls covered with Bible verses.
"We wanted God's Word to be everywhere, permeating this place," Pam explained. "This was a place of death, awful, evil destruction and now it's a place of light."
The same light that now fills the lives of Andrea and Elora.