On Wednesday, a video went viral on social media that featured Abrams claiming that “no such thing” as a fetal heartbeat exists at six weeks of pregnancy.
“There is no such thing as a heartbeat at six weeks,” Abrams said at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center in Atlanta. “It is a manufactured sound designed to convince people that men have the right to take control of a woman’s body.”
Abrams was undoubtedly taking aim at the 2019 Georgia law that banned most abortions in the state after doctors can detect a fetal heartbeat, which usually happens around six weeks.
Since most women do not learn of their pregnancy in the first six weeks, the law effectively bans all abortion in the Peach State. Though the law faced numerous hurdles, it finally went into effect this year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
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Writing for National Review, Alexandra Desanctis noted the media often have obfuscated the heartbeat arguments in order to dehumanize the unborn rather than a genuine scientific inquiry.
The elaborate song and dance from abortion supporters entirely misses the point. Heartbeat bills don’t assert either that the embryo has a fully formed heart at six weeks or that the presence of a heartbeat is what makes a human being. The purpose of the laws is to emphasize one central point: There is a human being here, one who, if left in peace, will rapidly continue developing all of the bodily functions needed to thrive outside the womb when the time is right.
The “electrical activity” detectable at six weeks is far less sophisticated than it will be later in pregnancy, it’s true. But then, the heartbeat of a newborn is far less sophisticated than that of an adult, as are most of the newborn’s functions. Does this give us license to off the baby, merely because his heart or his lungs has a ways to go? Surely I am no less a person than my neighbor if I exhibit signs of a heart murmur or suffer from asthma.
Most ultrasounds detect a fetal heartbeat at eight weeks while some detect it at six weeks. As to the differences between heart and heartbeat, as Fox News pointed out, “even Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, stipulates that at five to six weeks, a ‘very basic beating heart’ develops.”
Conservatives and pro-life activists immediately pounced on Abrams for her evidence-free argument, pointing out that even the National Institutes of Health (NIH) admits a baby’s heartbeat can be detected as early as four weeks.
“Stacey Abrams claims there’s “no such thing as a heartbeat” at six weeks. NIH says a fetal heartbeat begins at week 4 – What happened to following the science?” tweeted Georgia Rep. Buddy Carter (R).