The Guardian has published a highly criticized article which purports to show photographs of aborted fetal tissue in the early stages of life, allegedly captured by an abortion activist organization. The images, which are said to show “pregnancy tissue” or “gestational sac” with “no visible embryo,” were reportedly published to counter “misinformation” and were supplied to the Guardian by the MYA Network.
While pro-lifers and pro-life groups immediately pointed out the misleading nature of the photos, the images as presented even seem to contradict development markers published by more well-known abortion groups like Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG).
In a video (see below), which was linked by The Guardian from the MYA Network’s website, co-founder Joan Fleischman claimed that “through nine weeks of pregnancy, there is no visible embryo.” Fleischman then goes on to show the same fetal tissue photographs they supplied to The Guardian, which more closely resemble cotton balls than actual embryos, and range in stages from 4-9 weeks of pregnancy.
Dr. Joan Fleischman, a self-described family doctor and not an OBGYN, is cited by the Guardian as an expert. She claimed MYA’s “tissue” photographs will not show “a little fetus with hands – a developed, miniature baby.”
Dr. Christina Francis, an OB/GYN and chair of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, described the article as misleading, telling Live Action News, “The images in the Guardian article are clearly intentionally misleading. They state that they are pictures of gestational sacs, ignoring the inconvenient fact that in pregnancy, the gestational sac surrounds the embryonic or fetal human being — which have clearly been removed before these photos were taken.”
The Guardian’s writer Poppy Noor asked Fleischman, “If we looked closer, under a microscope, would we see more human qualities?”
Fleischman responded with a less-than-scientific answer: “If you zoom in on anything, including sperm and an egg getting fertilized, it’s just an incredible thing to watch. But that’s very different from the everyday ways we see life. That perspective to me is the most relevant – but it is somehow absent from our consciousness.”
Live Action News previously documented that the MYA Network was launched in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic as a “project of The Community Health Promotion Project (CHPP)” whose principle officer Joan Fleischman created the New York abortion facility Early Options. Fleischman has previously admitted in an online video that she wanted to use the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to “take advantage of this moment and make the abortion pill more accessible.”
MYA Network was co-founded by Michele Gomez, MD, who once trained residents to provide abortions through Bixby’s TEACH program, and worked for Family Care Associates in Burlingame, California. She described how she prescribes abortion pills via telemedicine, and may only spend as little as 10 minutes with a client. In fact, several MYA Network abortionists claimed to spend just 5 to 10 minutes with abortion pill clients.
Online public backlash
While MYA Network and The Guardian — both admittedly favorable to abortion — may be able to fool some women, many others cried foul, and were highly critical of the deceptive photographs.
“And in one fell swoop… Poppy Noor from the Anti-Life Guardian manages to insult every parent who has lost a much loved, much wanted baby under 10 weeks gestation. How very crass,” @RockofLifeNI tweeted.
“That’s just tissue and an empty sac. It wouldn’t be a pregnancy without the embryo. Why don’t your photos include the embryo? I suspect it’s so that it resembles the ‘clump of cells’ you like to talk about rather than the developing human it actually is. Misleading photos!” tweeted @jrjuara.
“This is the most ridiculous ‘article’ that I have ever seen. And frankly, misinformation. Where is the fetus in any of those pictures?? If you truly support all that abortion involves, then you should not have anything to hide and should embrace EVERYTHING about it,” @merryfull1 wrote.
Some even reported the tweet as “misinformation” while others responded with actual ultrasound pictures as well as images of babies at the same stage.
Abortion industry even contradicts the Guardian
In stark contrast to the MYA Network fetal tissue photographs displayed by the Guardian, other abortion groups appear to contradict Fleischman’s claims. On their fetal development pages, Planned Parenthood writes that between 5-6 weeks of pregnancy, “A part of the embryo starts to show cardiac activity. It sounds like a heartbeat on an ultrasound, but it’s not a fully-formed heart — it’s the earliest stage of the heart developing,” and “[b]uds for arms and legs develop.”
Between 7-8 weeks, the abortion corporation writes that “[t]he heart has formed,” “[w]ebbed fingers and toes develop,” “[t]he arms bend at the elbows,” and “[e]xternal ears, eyes, eyelids, liver, and upper lip begin forming.” And Planned Parenthood’s website states that between 9-10 weeks, “Fingers and toes grow longer… The cord carries nutrients and oxygen to the fetus and takes waste away from the fetus.”
In addition, the pro-abortion American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) also seems to contradict The Guardian and MYA Network. Describing fetal development in their Seventh Edition Your Pregnancy and Childbirth book, ACOG states that, “The first eight weeks of pregnancy are a time of rapid growth for your baby. Most of the organs have begun to form during these weeks. By the end of the eighth week, the baby – called an embryo at this stage – is about half an inch long.”
ACOG’s book also states that by week six, “parts of the face are taking shape now, including the eyes and nostrils,” and at this stage, “Cardiac activity can sometimes be seen during an ultrasound exam this week.” By week seven, ACOG writes, “Arm and leg buds appear,” while by week eight, ACOG writes that “[t]he inner ear begins to develop. Muscles of eyes, nose, and mouth are developing.” At week nine, writes the ACOG, “Cartilage for the limbs, hands, and feet are forming… Eyelids form but remain closed.”
In addition, the National Abortion Federation (NAF) has stated that at eight weeks, a woman having an abortion “[m]ay see fetal parts, digits will still be webbed.” At nine weeks, NAF states, “Fragmented or intact fetal parts, including elbows and knees, digits no longer webbed.”
According to their website, “The ultimate owner of the Guardian is The Scott Trust Limited, whose role it is to secure the editorial and financial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity. Reader contributions support the Guardian’s journalism.” The Guardian’s website also openly states that they view abortion as a “fundamental human right” and they describe the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade as “threatening reproductive freedom and the right to control one’s destiny.”
The fact that an actual human being’s existence is ended by abortion is extremely relevant to the conversation surrounding abortion overall. As Dr. Christina Francis of AAPLOG also noted to Live Action News, “Women deserve to have accurate and complete information when facing an unplanned pregnancy — even if the truth is inconvenient for the abortionist and the abortion lobby.”