Alive from New York is almost here, and the last-minute preparations are well under way. The ultrasound bus is slowly making its way towards the island of Manhattan, and many staff members are already on the ground working through the last-minute details. But before the event begins, here is a look back on how the event came together.
Like everything, Alive from New York started with a simple idea: What if Focus on the Family did an ultrasound live in Times Square? While the initial idea was introduced a several months ago, before the New York legislation, it was met with some initial resistance for some important reasons.
Ultrasounds are a medical procedure and there are certain precautions that should be taken. The idea of having a woman with her belly exposed in Times Square seemed a little much and the team wasn’t sure how to avoid that potentially vulnerable situation, but the legislation in New York changed all that. The idea that abortion would be encouraged, even celebrated by the New York legislature became a catalyst for the pro-life community and motivated people across the country to act.
But making it happen would be difficult, if not impossible.
First, Focus on the Family wanted to do it as quickly as possible, to truly be part of the New York, Virginia and abortion conversation, but there was a problem. Acquiring a permit for a place like Times Square is usually a long and arduous process. Most events in Times Square take 12-18 months to plan. The idea of planning such a monumental event in 12 weeks instead of 12 months seemed a little daunting to say that least, but the team got started as quickly as possible and the permits were recently approved. It’s not an understatement to say that God’s hand was at work.
Although the permits have been acquired, there was still the initial problem, brought up when the idea was first proposed months ago, about how to actually perform an ultrasound in Times Square. Will it just be a woman on a medical stretcher with her belly exposed? That idea seemed to make a woman a little too vulnerable. Will there be a platform or stage, and how high should that be and what if it rains? What is the best way to preserve the personal nature of the ultrasound on one of the world’s largest stages? The answer, Image Clear Ultrasound or ICU.
A nonprofit organization, ICU brings pregnancy resource centers (PRC) to communities across the country by converting an RV into a mobile PRC. There is usually a sofa where counseling can be completed, and an ultrasound machine and medical bed in the back that can ensure privacy and dignity. ICU offered to partner with Focus on the Family and bring one of their ultrasound buses into Times Square, which is perfect for the event. A live 4D ultrasound can be performed and the mother’s privacy maintained, but the ultrasound bus roadshow to the event wasn’t easy. The short half country tour of area PRCs, from Dallas, TX to NYC, had some great triumphs and challenges.
Perhaps one of the biggest disappointments of Alive from New York has been the inability to secure any of the digital billboards prominent throughout the Square. When businesses found out that the event would focus on life, most of the screens inexplicably became “unavailable.” There will be screens brought in by Focus on the Family for the event, but none of the existing large digital billboards in Times Square will be used for the event.
To make sure that the event goes off without a hitch, Focus on the Family has also gathered an army of local volunteers to work and put together the stage, screens and barriers. Most of these volunteers are starting their shift at midnight or in the early morning hours and working throughout the night to make it all happen.
Alive from New York will be the largest pro-life event in the history of Times Square, but it wasn’t an easy journey. From concerns about permitting, to volunteers and a bus catching on fire, it was questionable if the event would even happen, but now Alive from New York is only a little over 24 hours away. That everything came together shows that there is no limit to what God can do when you are following His will.
Here are some prayer requests to consider as the team and staff members prepare for Alive from New York:
- The weather forecast shows rain during the set up and for the event, pray that the skies clear so that work can be completed, and lives can be impacted.
- Pray for the volunteers who will be donating their time and energy for the event.
- As the images of preborn babies are shown, pray that hearts and minds are changed on the issue of life.
- Pray for the state of New York, that an event like Alive from New York can usher change in the government.
If you can’t make it to the live New York event, you can livestream it here.