‘A Glimpse Inside’: Science-Based Program Aims to Form Young Minds

A new pro-life educational program is set to launch nationwide on Aug. 31.

Illustration of an unborn baby
Illustration of an unborn baby (photo: u3d / Shutterstock)

How do we get to the point in America where abortion becomes unthinkable?

By getting Americans to think — in a clear-headed way, early in life, about the basic facts of human biology.

That’s the simple premise of a new science-based, pro-life educational program set to launch nationwide on Aug. 31.

It’s called “A Glimpse Inside,” and its creators say it’s groundbreaking because it allows young people to see for themselves how a real baby develops in the womb, guided by physicians using 3D/4D ultrasound technology.

Groundbreaking ultrasound technnology offers a view into the womb. courtesy
Groundbreaking ultrasound technnology offers a view into the womb(Photo: Courtesy photo)

It’s also ambitious: The goal is to get the web-based video series, which comes with a supplemental curriculum, into 1,000 U.S. middle and high schools — Catholic, Protestant and public — by the end of the new school year. And that’s just for starters.

The story behind “A Glimpse Inside” begins about nine years ago with a mobile sonogram machine the Knights of Columbus donated to the John Paul II Life Center, a pioneering pro-life nonprofit in Austin, Texas.

Founded in 2010 by Tim and Pat Von Dohlen and Chris and Sheri Danze, the John Paul II Life Center provides free pregnancy services, holistic OB-GYN health care and life-affirming education programs for young teens and adults.

Since the sonogram unit is about the size of a large laptop and easy to transport, the center hit on the idea of sending physicians out to Catholic schools in the Diocese of Austin to conduct live sonogram presentations with real patients (and their unborn babies).

Changing the hearts and minds of new generations of Americans on the abortion issue may sound like a herculean challenge — unless you’ve ever witnessed how young people react to seeing a real baby inside his or her mother’s womb.

Awe-inspiring ultrasound imaging. courtesy
Awe-inspiring ultrasound imaging(Photo: Courtesy photo)

“We have seen the way teens are transformed at parishes that use ‘A Glimpse Inside’ annually,” Natalie Mohr, the John Paul II Life Center’s education director, told the Register. 

“There is a greater respect for their peers, increased sexual responsibility, and a love for life in the womb. It is truly a life-changing program,” she said. “One of the most impactful experiences was a teenager coming to us, telling us she is pregnant and is choosing life.”

Father Mark Hamlet, a recently retired priest in the Austin Diocese who has attended parish sessions of “A Glimpse Inside,” said the experience sparks an immediate response and naturally leads to deeper thoughts and conversations about the wonders of human life.

Baby Olivia viewed from her mother's womb. Courtesy
Baby Olivia viewed from her mother's womb.(Photo: ‘Baby Olivia’ short film by Live Action)

“We are constantly looking for ways to change how people think; one of them is language, another one is visual, so when they have an opportunity to see a sonogram of a baby, maybe the size of a peanut, they have to change their mind at that moment. They can’t hold on to any other idea of what they are looking at; it is right in front of them,” he told the Register. “We have the children 8, 10, and 12 years old, looking at it instantly saying, ‘That’s a baby.’”

The John Paul II Life Center has distilled the lessons learned from these live presentations into its new online version of “A Glimpse Inside,” created in collaboration with the Sophia Institute for Teachers and Cardinal Studios. Schools and families have to pay a fee to access the content. Underwriting opportunities also are available. The video series also features footage from Live Action’s animated short film “Baby Olivia,” which you can watch here.

The center’s promotional release for the web-based program succinctly identifies the problem “A Glimpse Inside” is meant to address.

“Young people are at a high risk of being influenced by a media-saturated culture that denies the humanity of the unborn, the tragedy of abortion, and sexual responsibility,” it explains. “This leaves them vulnerable to experiencing unexpected pregnancies, choosing abortions, and encouraging their partners and peers to choose abortions.”

In July, the John Paul II Life Center’s co-founder Tom Von Dohlen, CEO Linda Ruf and Vice President for Advancement Theresa Barbale presented their vision for “A Glimpse Inside” to potential underwriters and others attending the Napa Institute’s annual summer conference in Napa, California.

In her remarks, Barbale said the initiative is an example of the pro-life movement going on the offensive in the aftermath of last year’s Dobbs abortion decision that has allowed states to regulate abortion as they see fit.

More specifically, she said, “A Glimpse Inside” aims to counter the pervasive pro-abortion indoctrination that Planned Parenthood and other groups conduct in U.S. schools, a false narrative that equates the killing of innocent life in the womb with a personal “choice” and basic health care. 

With “A Glimpse Inside,” “we’ve just flipped the whole narrative,” Barbale said.

“Instead of them hearing from Planned Parenthood, ‘Oh, this is a choice; this is medical care,’ we’ve informed them first: This is a baby. This is real.”

Cutting-edge ultrasound technology helps to expose the humanity of the unborn within the womb, changing hearts and minds. courtesy
Cutting-edge ultrasound technology helps to expose the humanity of the unborn within the womb, changing hearts and minds.(Photo: ‘Baby Olivia’ short film by Live Action)

What happens next?

Following the program’s launch, the next step is to finalize a college version of “A Glimpse Inside,” which will be heavily promoted during the SEEK conference this January in St. Louis in collaboration with the Catholic outreach organization Fellowship of Catholic University Students; FOCUS’ missionaries will help share the program in their travels to schools and parishes across the country.

One of the educators featured in a promotional video about “A Glimpse Inside” captures the potential it has to change the discussion surrounding abortion in America.

“The truth about life is beautiful — and simple,” she said. 

“It’s not complicated, and when children of these ages, in middle school and high school, are presented the truth, I think it’s eye-opening for them,” she explained. 

“They don’t often hear the truth, and when they get to hear the truth, they know that this is real; this is a baby,” she said. “This is a human with personhood from the very beginning.”


This story was updated after posting.

MORE INFORMATION For more information about how to sign up your school or family for the online version of “A Glimpse Inside,” visit the program’s website at: GlimpseInside.org.