The Georgia Senate has passed a heartbeat bill, banning abortion after a preborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected. There are exceptions for cases of rape or incest, if the mother’s life is in danger or the baby would not survive pregnancy, and it is abortionists who would be punished by losing their medical licenses, not the mother. Still, this bill regardless is being criticized by abortion activists, who claim it ignores science and attacks the “dignity” of Georgia women.
Nastassia Patin, a post-doctoral researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology, penned an op-ed for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, claiming that “scientists” opposed the bill. Patin argues, first, that the bill is scientifically inaccurate due to the term “heartbeat,” as — according to Patin — there is not actually a heartbeat present.
When ‘scientists’ get it totally wrong on fetal development
“At six weeks, the fetus is about eight-to-10 millimeters long – smaller than your pinky nail,” she wrote. “The ‘heartbeat’ refers to the thickening of an embryonic yolk sac, called a fetal pole, which at six weeks can produce a motion on a vaginal ultrasound. It is this fetal pole rhythmic activity that is termed a ‘heartbeat.’ At this point the fetus does not yet have a brain, spinal cord, or any chance of viability outside the womb.”
The issue of viability is irrelevant, as is the lack of a brain or spinal cord; many people, for example, have a spinal cord that does not work, yet it does not mean they are not alive or deserve the chance to live. Regardless, Patin is incorrect.
The Endowment for Human Development (EHD) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to apply “the science of human prenatal development is increasingly recognized as an indispensable and unique way to improve children’s health, enhance their development, and prevent certain birth defects and chronic diseases.” EHD is also dedicated to neutrality on all bioethical issues, including controversial topics like abortion — making them an unbiased source. EHD is made up of educators, researchers, scientists, and doctors, and they lay out many facts that prove the humanity of the preborn. The most relevant of these regards when the heart starts beating, and what exactly that means.
As EHD explains, the heart begins beating at approximately three weeks after fertilization (16-21 days). What does this mean, exactly? Well, it isn’t, as Patin tries to claim, a meaningless rhythmic activity with no purpose. On the contrary, at this point, there are two chambers of the heart which are already circulating blood, which can be seen in the above video. The EHD also notes that the circulatory system — of which the heart is a part — is the first bodily system to form and become functional, and explains why this is necessary: because the embryo needs a functioning circulatory system pumping blood in order to grow.
And while it isn’t specifically relevant to the Georgia bill, Patin again gets it wrong again regarding the brain and spine. The brain, in fact, is the first organ to appear, with measurable brain waves able to be detected by six weeks. The spinal cord also begin forming by three weeks.
Patin argues that it is important to use “medically accurate” language not designed to “deceive or stoke emotional outrage,” yet she herself uses inaccurate language, with wordplay almost certainly designed to obscure the reality of fetal development with the aim of defending her abortion-favorable stance.
When ‘scientists’ think ectopic pregnancy is a reason to keep abortion legal
But it’s her next argument that is even more nonsensical: she uses the example of an ectopic pregnancy to claim that women need abortion just in case something goes wrong with their pregnancies. “[B]efore six weeks, it can be difficult to determine if a pregnancy will develop dangerous complications,” she wrote. “For example, six weeks is often too early to detect an ectopic pregnancy, which is one that develops outside the uterus. Such a pregnancy can’t proceed normally; the fetus will not survive, and the growing tissue may cause life-threatening bleeding if left untreated. Treatment in this case necessarily means terminating the pregnancy. Thus, doctors wouldn’t be able to intervene to protect the health of their patient until the situation became life-threatening.”
But that kind of scenario is actually covered in the heartbeat bill; however, it’s insulting — and inaccurate — to include that as an excuse for an abortion. A dilation and curettage, or D&C procedure, after a miscarriage is not an abortion; neither is treating an ectopic pregnancy, or an early delivery due to issues of infection or illness. Why? Because none of these things are done with the express purpose of taking life, but are done to preserve it.
It’s become increasingly common for abortion activists like Patin to exploit these kinds of tragic circumstances, with the goal of tugging at people’s heartstrings so abortion can remain legal. It’s rather hypocritical for Patin to say the Georgia bill is designed to stoke emotional outrage when her argument relies on emotion and distortion of the facts.
Deliberately killing human beings is not health care, and it cannot be permitted to continue. And most people understand that, which is exactly why Patin has to stretch the facts to defend it.
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