Sunday, July 28, 2019

The "fetal heartbeat" lie

In May, Live Science published an article titled “Is a ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Really a Heartbeat at Six Weeks?” 

The article begins as follows:

So far this year, four U.S. states have passed laws banning abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, at around six weeks of pregnancy; several additional states are also considering these so-called heartbeat bills.

But what exactly do we mean when we talk about a “fetal heartbeat” at six weeks of pregnancy? Although some people might picture a heart-shaped organ beating inside a fetus, this is not the case.

Rather, at six weeks of pregnancy, an ultrasound can detect “a little flutter in the area that will become the future heart of the baby,” said Dr. Saima Aftab, medical director of the Fetal Care Center at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami. This flutter happens because the group of cells that will become the future “pacemaker” of the heart gain the capacity to fire electrical signals, she said.

This is all very interesting scientifically speaking, but this article suffers from a fatal flaw—the author took abortion opponents at their word and assumed they actually cared about when the fetal heartbeat begins. They don’t.

As a quick aside, the term “fetus” is not used until quite a bit after six weeks. At six weeks, it’s still an embryo. In other words, the entire term “fetal heartbeat,” as applied to laws banning abortions after six weeks, is a misnomer. But abortion opponents don’t care about that, either.

It is true that a number of abortion bills over the past few years have wanted to ban the procedure after six weeks specifically, and that these bills have been called “heartbeat bills.” 

It is also true that abortion opponents make much of the claim that there is a heartbeat at six weeks. The rub is that abortion opponents use this claim only because they believe it will be persuasive to others, not because they put any stock in the presence of a heartbeat themselves...

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The Crybaby Syndrome

Which genres do you especially enjoy reading? And which do you avoid?

"I tend to avoid memoirs and diaries ever since they became a mere vehicle for grievances and banalities. Too many people wondering how on earth they can be seen as victims."

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History lesson

Freedom From Religion

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