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Tipsheet

Let's Explore Stacey Abrams' Bizarre Comment on Fetal Heartbeats and Abortion

A follow-up on Sarah's post from last evening, which highlighted comments from Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, who is currently trailing Gov. Brian Kemp across multiple polls.  Appearing at a forum, Abrams asserted that there's "no such thing" as a fetal heartbeat at six weeks -- the point after which a number of states have passed or implemented 'heartbeat law' limitations on most abortions.  That notion, she said, is a myth based on a "manufactured sound" designed to allow men to "take control of" women's bodies. Watch:

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Let's set aside the fact that substantial majorities of American women support significant abortion limitations, which undermines the supposed motivation behind her most recent bizarre conspiracy.  Instead, let's discuss whether she's correct that fetal heartbeats aren't a real biological phenomenon six weeks into pregnancies, and that evidence to the contrary is a "manufactured sound."  National Review's John McCormack points out that even abortion giant Planned Parenthood used to acknowledge this medical reality, but has scrubbed such mentions from their website, now that they've become politically problematic for the pro-abortion agenda (which I often hasten to differentiate from the pro-choice position):


Quite a few journalists -- an overwhelmingly and disproportionately pro-choice to pro-abortion group -- have leapt to defend and justify Abrams' comments.  Their argument seems to be, actually, it's not truly a heartbeat until ten weeks or later.  A few examples:

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Parsing "heartbeat" versus "cardiac activity" is an interesting choice.  As a number of people have asked, how would you feel if you were told your cardiac activity was about to cease?  As for the claim by Kessler, the Washington Post's fact-checker, here's a thread by a medical doctor refuting it:

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"I can't believe I have to report a fact checker to Twitter for misinformation, Shanker remarked in the same thread.  "This is what we've come to."  Kessler is also getting rightly criticized for another flawed "fact check" on this general subject: 


Nearly every elected Democrat in Washington opposes any limitation on third-term elective abortions.  That's an appalling fact, no matter how it gets dressed up by sympathetic journalists.  Another prominent physician, Dr. Nicole Saphier, flagged Abrams for medical misinformation regarding her "false statement" on fetal heartbeats.  In my response to Abrams and her defenders, I wondered if they would agree to restrictions further along in pregnancy if we accepted their standard on when a proper fetal heartbeat begins:


They'll labor and strain to deny the existence of a heartbeat at six weeks, then they'll find some other reason or euphemism to defend intentionally stopping that heartbeat, even after they concede it exists.  Their stance requires a combination of systematic dehumanization, tortured rhetorical games, and outright denial of science. If you think a distinct human heartbeat doesn’t represent a person worthy of legal protection, make that case. Don’t deny that heartbeat’s existence.  Apropos of nothing, I'll leave you with this scientific development about non-human clumps of cells, indistinguishable from 'pregnant people's' bodies:

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