Life After Dobbs
New Mexico Knights donate an ultrasound machine to serve women adjacent to the abortion provider in the Dobbs case
By Carl Bunderson
Shortly after losing its case before the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2022, Jackson Women’s Health Organization announced it was moving from Mississippi to Las Cruces, New Mexico. Pro-life leaders in the city soon made their own announcement: They would be opening a pregnancy resource center and medical clinic just beside the abortion facility. Within a few days, local Knights of Columbus were working on providing the new Guiding Star Las Cruces with a state-of-the-art ultrasound machine to serve pregnant women and help them see their unborn babies.
The Knights’ assistance was set in motion when Matthew Seltzer, an assistant general agent and a member of St. John Paul II Council 17874 in Santa Teresa, heard the announcement at a pro-life rally in July. Seltzer immediately thought of the Order’s Ultrasound Initiative and got in touch with New Mexico State Deputy Bernard Ela, who sent an urgent message to Knights across the state to request donations.
“The Knights of Columbus made a few phone calls, and within about 10 minutes, they already had more than $25,000 pledged,” recalled Mark Cavaliere, executive director of Guiding Star Las Cruces and CEO of Southwest Coalition for Life.
Those donations, matched by the Ultrasound Initiative, purchased what Cavaliere described as “a top-of-the-line machine.”
“The machines we buy are 3D, 4D ultrasound machines, the best of the best,” Cavaliere said. “These machines have been game-changing: So many women have changed their minds [about abortion] after seeing these images.”
Ela explained that the machine for Guiding Star Las Cruces is only the latest purchased through the Ultrasound Initiative in New Mexico; in the last several years, Knights have funded 11 such machines for pro-life pregnancy resource centers and medical clinics across the state.
The decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has energized pro-life people in New Mexico, Ela added, noting that the ability of the New Mexico Knights “to raise over $50,000 in such a short time shows the enthusiasm and dedication of the pro-life movement.”
At the same time, the need for centers such as Guiding Star has grown in New Mexico since the Dobbs decision returned the question of abortion regulation to the states. While neighboring Texas has made abortion illegal, in New Mexico the practice is legal at all stages of pregnancy. An increasing number of Texas women are thus seeking abortion in southern New Mexico. Seltzer described the state as “the wild west of abortion law.”
Even in states where abortion restrictions have been enacted post-Dobbs, it is more important than ever for Knights to support their local pregnancy centers and pro-life medical clinics, Cavaliere noted.
“We have to help women in those communities before they travel to states like New Mexico,” he said. “Because by that point they’re so invested in their decision that it’s harder to change their mind.”
Guiding Star Las Cruces, which belongs to a network of affiliated clinics offering holistic women’s health care, plans to expand into full medical services within the next six months.
CARL BUNDERSON writes from Colorado, where he is a member of Longmont (Colo.) Council 1313.