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New York State's Only Ultrasound Bus to Hit the Road

“I don’t believe we’re reaching as many abortion-vulnerable women as we can,” Ellen Brignola MS, FNP-BC said. 

Brignola, who serves as executive director of Alight Care Center in Troy, New York, isn’t content to let that problem linger, and believes her center is on the cusp of an important breakthrough.

Alight plans to expand its services and invest in a mobile ultrasound unit. The pregnancy center opened in 1999. Services include pregnancy testing, childbirth and parenting classes, diaper and maternity clothes programs, port-abortion healing classes, and anger management programs.

“What worked 17 years ago is not working as well as it used to,” Brignola said. “We don’t just want to be another social service agency, and we’re not getting the numbers of abortion-vulnerable women through our doors as we did.”

The mobile unit, which will likely hit the road later this fall, comes from Save the Storks, which equips pregnancy centers with high-end mobile ultrasound units. Brignola learned about the organization through Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-life proponent, who spoke at a past Alight fundraising banquet.

“The challenge is that abortion numbers are still staggering, and as Christians, we can do better,” Brignola said. “There’s technology available that can help us reach these girls in a better way. The millennial generation is used to getting everything quick and not having to wait. This way we can meet them right at the point of decision.”

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While abortions in New York state continue to drop, Alight’s medical mobile unit will be the only known mobile ultrasound unit for a New York pregnancy center.

Brignola views the mobile medical unit as a new and necessary tool to help combat the abortion war in that state.

“This will be the very first of its kind [outside of New York City],” Brignola said. “This is a brand new thing. We’re breaking all barriers here.”

That newness is drawing the interest of Brignola’s community.

“We’ve had a great outpouring of support,” she said “It’s bringing people together for a common cause, and they’re really getting behind this. They see the value of it and they see how amazing this could be.

“We’ll be taking the services to where the clients are. The mobile vehicle is amazing because we can really bring it anywhere: apartment complexes, shopping malls, college campuses, fairs and events. It’s a beautiful, smaller vehicle and it can fit into one parking space. We can pull the vehicle right across the street from an abortion center and they can’t tell us to leave—we’re just parked there like anybody else.”

Tweet This: #NewYork #prolife center to add @SaveTheStorks #ultrasound bus.

Beyond serving a population of 850,000 in the center’s immediate 40-mile radius, Brignola has broader hopes for the mobile unit. She envisions the custom-built Mercedes-Benz to serve as a vehicle for uniting the life-affirming pregnancy help efforts around the state.

With 83 pregnancy centers around the state, including 20 locations with free ultrasound services,  Alight’s new addition has a potential to connect clients with their local centers from Albany to Utica, 95 miles away.

“We know that four out of five women that board a Stork bus and see their baby on the ultrasound will choose life,” Brignola said. “If they’re on the fence, they see that they’re pregnant and see their baby on the screen Our goal is, wherever we have the vehicle, we want to be connected to those pregnancy centers in that area so that we can refer the girl to the pregnancy center to get the regular services the pregnancy center offers so they can get the help they need.”

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Outfitted with unexpected amenities like a Wi-Fi hotspot, heated massage chairs, leather seating and all-new equipment, Brignola has high hopes for the Stork bus, which is one of 18 mobile ultrasound units funded through Save the Storks nationwide, as an educational tool for clients and the larger community.

“I hope the vehicle is going to be used to shed more light on the value and sanctity of all human life—this is not a blob of tissue,” she said. “There is still so much inaccurate information out there. I hope this is a way and a means we can get out to communities and educate people more and help an abortion-vulnerable woman and her partner to choose life for their unborn baby.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: The original edition of this article included claims in the headline and the article itself that Alight's mobile ultrasound unit is the first of its kind in New York. A Pregnancy Help News reader has kindly corrected this, pointing out that the concept of a mobile ultrasound unit has been previously piloted in New York City, but is no longer in use. If you have a correction or a tip, please contact us here.

Gayle Irwin

Gayle M. Irwin is human and pet life advocate and an award-winning author and freelance writer. She is a contributor to seven Chicken Soup for the Soul books and the author of many inspirational pet books and stories for children and adults. Her first novel, a clean, contemporary pet rescue romance titled Rescue Road, released November 8, 2019. She subtly weaves important life and faith lessons within the lines and pages of her stories. As Patient Resources Director for True Care Women’s Resource Center in Casper, Wyoming, for ten years, Gayle oversees the volunteer program, writes patient stories for the organization’s newsletter, creates blog and social media posts for the center, and serves as a patient advocate when needed. Learn more about her writing endeavors and read her pet blog at her website: www.gaylemirwin.com.