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Published: Tuesday, 4/8/2008

Pro-life group s Truth Booth at mall depicts growth of fetus

BY LAREN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Laura Moore paused yesterday as she walked through Westfield Franklin Park, stopping briefly at a kiosk in the center of the mall to watch images of a developing fetus scroll across a television.

Ms. Moore, who is eight months pregnant with her second child, a girl, said she was fascinated by the four-dimensional images shown at the Truth Booth, which was viewed by the public for the first time yesterday.

The kiosk, small and unassuming, replayed ultrasound images starting with a 7-week-old embryo and progressing to the baby s birth.

Small booklets chronicling the 40 weeks of pregnancy sat below.

With her young son by her side, Ms. Moore of Genoa said: I can show him, Look, this is what your sister looks like.

The booth, which sits in a center aisle across from Zales Jewelers and Lindt Chocolate, is sponsored by Foundation for Life, a nonprofit organization in Toledo.

Paige Scarlett, development director with Foundation for Life, said the kiosk is meant to be educational, not controversial.

The aim of the project is to show people what happens inside a womb during pregnancy, she said.

It s supposed to help foster people s recognition of the beauty of an unborn baby, Ms. Scarlett said. We hope it will attract people and cause them to think.

The kiosk is unmanned because the group doesn t want people to feel pressured or threatened.

It speaks for itself, Ms. Scarlett said. The pictures do the talking.

It will cost the organization between $25,000 and $30,000, paid for through donations, to rent the kiosk from the mall for a year, Ms. Scarlett said.

A Westfield Franklin Park spokesman didn t return phone calls seeking comment.

LifeWorks Ohio, a nonprofit group in Cleveland, helped bring the Truth Booth to Toledo after it was approached by Foundation for Life members.

Similar kiosks in three Cleveland area malls have generated positive feedback during the last year, said Molly Smith, executive director of LifeWorks Ohio.

In addition to the educational benefits, Ms. Smith said it allows mothers who never have had an ultrasound to see one.

Many women are unable to get ultrasounds because of the cost, she said.

Ms. Smith said the group s hope is to eliminate the political controversy surrounding pro-life and pro-choice issues.

It is a wonderful way to say, This is what a developing child looks like, she said. The whole idea is not to have anybody there talking or pushing an agenda. It s just a matter of providing that information to the public in a way that s not threatening.

Donna Ohls, a Perrysburg grandmother who is pro-choice, said she was touched by the kiosk when she walked through the mall yesterday.

I think it s a really neat thing, Ms. Ohls said. You get to see the development. It s more realistic.

Contact Laren Weber at:lweber@theblade.comor 419-724-6050.



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