Florida’s HB 7 would protect most preborn children from abortion at six weeks from the first day of the mother’s last menstrual period, which is four weeks post-fertilization. During a Senate committee hearing on the state’s proposed law that would protect preborn children from abortion beginning at six weeks, several abortion advocates misled Floridians and the rest of the nation about the supposed effects of such a law.
Dr. Nancy Staats, an anesthesiologist, compared a preborn child — a human being — to a Tic Tac. “At six weeks, a human fetus is about half the size of this Tic Tac, four millimeters high,” she said while holding up a Tic Tac. “Four millimeters. It does not have a face so there’s no looking at a face in an ultrasound. There is no heart, there is no lungs, there is no brain. It doesn’t have toes. It looks more like a tadpole.” She then denied that a human at this age has a heartbeat, saying that the “whoosh whoosh” noise of blood pumping is created by the ultrasound machine.
She added, “It is mind-boggling for me to listen to people who have not one iota of medical training, stand up here and try to educate you about a heartbeat or this or that or pregnancy.”
But according to the nonpartisan Endowment for Human Development, at four weeks post-fertilization, preborn human beings have lungs that have begun “filling the chest cavity,” a “well-established” circulatory system, and a two-chamber heart that is functioning,” as well as a cerebellum. Upper and lower limb buds have begun to develop as have the large and small intestines.
This Florida doctor held up a Tic Tac to demonstrate the size of the clump of cells that has formed by week 6 of a pregnancy. Because of the Republican lead in Florida, it’s likely a bill banning abortion after 6 weeks will be passed and signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis. pic.twitter.com/hjaAgilSvk
— Brut America (@brutamerica) March 29, 2023
A Twitter thread by @BeccCobain includes a series of videos created by doctors and scientists who explain the development of the human heart at the early stages of pregnancy, showing that it “must be able to pump blood starting at the 3rd week of development (5 weeks LMP).” Each video supports the notion that pro-life heartbeat laws are completely based on science. Despite noise from the abortion industry that embryos don’t have heart “beats” but rather, “pulses,” the truth is that the heart is the very first organ to form because it is the organ that allows the embryo to grow and develop.
Dr. Mobeen Syed explains how the ❤️ is the 1st organ in the human embryo to develop and why that tiny ❤️ must be able to pump blood starting at the 3rd week of development (5 weeks LMP).https://t.co/6bBRSN03Pu pic.twitter.com/PzHJwjEvRo
— Becc (@BeccCobain) November 3, 2021
Regardless of the child’s stage of development, she is a human being from the moment of fertilization. She has her own unique DNA and her own growing body, which will continue to develop and change throughout her life both before and after birth. By reducing human beings to their body parts and age, Staats is dehumanizing preborn children by classifying them based on arbitrary characteristics such as size — much as other humans in history have been dehumanized based on physical traits.
Staats wasn’t the only one who misled Floridians regarding the state’s pro-life laws. Florida Sen. Lauren Book spoke out against the proposed law protecting children from abortion at six weeks by making misleading claims about the state’s current law protecting children from abortion after 15 weeks.
“I have two constituents in my district who are living with the very real consequences of the bill that we passed — not a year ago — when we decided not to use real scientific information,” she said in reference to the state’s current 15-week abortion law. “In fact, when they lost their pregnancies, and were past the 15 weeks, were forced to go home and develop sepsis before they could receive the appropriate care that they needed.”
If the stories of these two women are legitimate, the dangerous situations they were put in were not the fault of the pro-life law but of the doctors who neglected them. No pro-life law in the nation outlaws treating a woman for miscarriage. What the laws do prohibit is induced abortion — the direct and intentional killing of the preborn child.
In fact, Florida defines abortion as “the termination of human pregnancy with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus.” If, in fact, these women were denied appropriate care for their miscarriages, which would have been removing or delivering the deceased preborn child, they are likely victims of medical negligence.
Women who miscarry in the State of Florida are being sent home to develop sepsis before they can receive needed abortion care. And with the new abortion ban, it will only get worse.
This is not freedom. pic.twitter.com/TLQoKsYKJP
— Lauren Book (@LeaderBookFL) March 30, 2023
Sen. Lori Berman also spoke out against the law, claiming that rape survivors, homeless women, women in poverty, and mothers of children with a prenatal diagnosis need abortion.
Where is the grace in a 6-week abortion ban?
Where is the grace for a woman or child who is raped and didn’t report? Or for a woman who can’t gather the resources in time?
What about the woman who wants her pregnancy, but her fetus has a significant fetal abnormality? pic.twitter.com/LruywfNCj1
— Senator Lori Berman (@loriberman) March 28, 2023
“You know, where in this bill is the grace for the mother who’s living out of her car and doesn’t know she’s pregnant at six weeks?” she asked. “And where is the grace for the woman who can barely make ends meet, who doesn’t have the money to be able to put together to afford an abortion? And where is there grace in this bill for the woman who has a wanted pregnancy but finds out that there’s such a significant abnormality that it’s a child she doesn’t want to bring into the world? And where is there grace for the rape victim who’s 18 years old, who has to now go report to the police?”
She added, “You know, somebody mentioned about only one percent of abortions are rapes and that’s because rape is one of the most underreported crimes that there is. People don’t want to have to go report to the police and that’s basically what we’re doing here in this bill. So where’s the grace for the person in that situation? I mean, incest, my god, these issues are tremendous issues and we don’t show any grace for these people who want to have access to abortion and are going to hurt by this change from 15 weeks to six weeks.”
But those who oppose the bill ostensibly because it doesn’t contain certain “exceptions” would be unlikely to support the bill even with exceptions.
Berman’s arguments present the killing of innocent children as a false solution to tough and traumatic situations. What if the homeless woman doesn’t want an abortion, but Berman just encouraged her to have one? Rather than telling that woman to abort her baby and go back to living in her car, Berman could be discussing ways to help that woman find secure housing. There are maternity homes in Florida that will give that woman and her baby a safe place to live, but Berman pushes abortion instead because she doesn’t seem to want certain people having children or certain people to be born.
Likewise, she speaks of the woman in poverty who can’t afford an abortion right away. Abortion is not a solution to poverty. What this woman needs is support and assistance, especially from the baby’s father, who should take care of her and their child. Pro-life pregnancy centers exist to help women in these situations by offering free services and material goods so they don’t think they have no other choice but abortion.
She also advocates for the discriminatory killing of children with disabilities in the womb — an act of eugenics. No mother should be pressured to abort her baby because that baby is labeled ‘abnormal.’ Women have called such an abortion “heartbreaking,” “painful,” and “devastating.”
Research shows that women who choose abortion after a prenatal diagnosis suffer a greater risk of depression and PTSD than women who choose to carry to term. “Women who terminated [following prenatal diagnosis of a lethal fetal anomaly] reported significantly more despair, avoidance, and depression than women who continued the pregnancy,” said one 2015 study. “There appears to be a psychological benefit to women to continue the pregnancy following a lethal fetal diagnosis.”
Berman also claims that rape survivors need abortion and shouldn’t have to report the rape to the police in order to have the abortion, as Florida’s pro-life law currently requires. For Berman, abortion appears to be a solution for rape. It appears she thinks it better that the innocent child becomes a victim of abortion — an additional trauma that the rape survivor must now overcome. Abortion doesn’t undo rape and has been shown to be a potential obstacle to healing from the trauma of rape. As one rape survivor observed, “[T]he abortion just makes the rape 1,000 times worse because now you have these two horrible events that you have to deal with.”
Every preborn child is a human being of equal worth and value to her mother and should be protected from direct and intentional killing. Where is the grace for preborn children, who are suffering brutal deaths by dismemberment, starvation, suffocation, and induced cardiac arrest because pro-abortion politicians don’t want to provide real help to pregnant mothers facing difficult situations?
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signaled that he will sign the law protecting children from abortion beginning at six weeks, which has passed the Senate but must still get through the House.