Based in Pennsylvania, the award-winning nonprofit group Real Alternatives offers women dealing with unplanned pregnancies support in choosing alternatives to abortion. To date, Real Alternatives has assisted hundreds of thousands of women, not least through its public education campaigns, including its online video “The Miracle of Life.”
The video echoes the classic 1965 photo book A Child Is Born, by the Swedish researcher and photographer Lennart Nilsson. Born in 1922, Nilsson began his career as a photographer at age 12. While still in his teens, he developed an interest in microscopy and began to study and photograph insects. Using his Zeiss Ikon Ikoflex camera, he spent his young adulthood photographing nature and the environment.
As a freelance photographer, Nilsson covered the liberation of Norway in the closing days of World War II. He made a number of ethnographic photo studies, including one dealing with fishermen in Africa and another focused on a midwife in Lapland.
In the 1950s and early 1960s, emerging medical technology allowed him to photograph human blood vessels and other previously inaccessible areas of the body. In 1965, Life magazine published his photo spread depicting the development of human babies in the womb. The series made him internationally famous, and was collected into the iconic book.
In later life, Nilsson contributed to documentary films on the wonders of life. He died in 2017.
Launched in 1996 through a state-sponsored initiative to lower abortion rates, Real Alternatives originally served women through 72 centers across Pennsylvania.