By Barbara Lyons, Retired Executive Director of Wisconsin Right to Life
Sonya was a young mother of two – and now pregnant. She was thinking of having an abortion when she saw a bus sign sponsored by Eyewitness for Life offering a free ultrasound. In the caring hands of the staff at Eyewitness, Sonya saw her baby on ultrasound and knew he was a life—her baby’s life – and she could not destroy him.
Sonya was asked by Eyewitness and Wisconsin Right to Life if she would be the face of a proposed law which would require that a woman seeking abortion first see an ultrasound of her child. After careful consideration, she agreed and Sonya’s Law was born.
Wisconsin Right to Life assembled a team of pro-life doctors, ultrasound technicians, and Pregnancy Help Center directors to ensure that everything in the proposed law was medically sound and protective of women and children. Sen. Mary Lazich and Rep. Pat Strachota agreed to author the law.
It wasn’t easy for Sonya – opponents of the law spouted on social media that she was a “plant,” that she didn’t exist. The day of public hearings was long and tense as pro-abortion legislators grilled Sonya and others who testified in favor. Then came lengthy debates in the Senate and Assembly before the measure passed.
This was not a popular measure for legislators, as ultrasound laws in other states were distorted and used as a whipping post against those who supported them. Governor Walker hung tough in the face of such adversity and signed Sonya’s Law which went into effect in July 2013.
The lifesaving benefits of Sonya’s Law are now evident with the release of the 2014 Wisconsin abortion numbers showing a 10% decrease. Not every mother who saw her baby on ultrasound decided against abortion, but many did. Words cannot express the gratitude felt for the courage of Sonya and the team of people who made Sonya’s Law a reality. It certainly delivered its promise of mothers informed and babies saved.