A viral video showing a Tennessee state lawmaker grilling a pro-life advocate about fetal development last week is spreading false information about when an unborn baby’s heartbeat begins.
State Sen. Katrina Robinson, a pro-abortion Democrat, says she is a nurse, but, during a Tennessee General Assembly meeting last week, she claimed that an unborn baby does not have a “functioning heart” until “the end of the second trimester” – a claim that is not backed up by science, The Hill reports.
Her exchange with pro-life advocate Hal Rounds occurred during a Tennessee state legislative hearing on a heartbeat bill, which would ban abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy.
“I believe that the consciousness of the child is begun in the womb and when you kill a child, you are killing a person who is not just aware of nothing but of being a person,” Rounds told Tennessee lawmakers.
“You just said that life, I’m sorry, heart functioning and brain functioning is life?” Robinson asked.
He responded yes. Then, Robinson asked him when in a pregnancy that occurs.
Here’s more from the report:
Rounds said he didn’t have a “timeline for that but” added that he knows it is “way before what is considered viability by the Supreme Court.”
“It’s the end of the second trimester,” she said.
“The heart’s beating way before that,” he said.
“It’s the end of the second trimester, sir. I’m a nurse, what are you?” [Robinson] said in the now-viral moment.
A video of the exchange shared by NowThis has racked up more than 100,000 views across Facebook and Twitter since it was shared Saturday.
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It is concerning that their exchange has gone viral because of Robinson’s false claims. An unborn baby’s heartbeat is one of the first tangible things about her unborn child that a pregnant woman can experience. Around six weeks of pregnancy, an unborn baby’s heartbeat usually is detectable at a doctor’s office.
In 2016, researchers at the world-renowned University of Oxford published an amazing study about how early a human being’s heartbeat begins. They found that the heartbeat may begin earlier than initially thought, as soon as 16 days of pregnancy.
“First of our three billion heartbeats is sooner than we thought,” the university wrote in its news release about the research. Later, it noted, “The heart is the first organ to form during pregnancy and is critical in providing oxygen and nutrients to the developing embryo.”
Though the heart is not fully developed at six weeks, it is there and it is beating. By 10 weeks, however, the heart is pretty much fully formed with all of the chambers and valves, according to research by FactCheck.org. This is far earlier than the “end of the second trimester,” as Robinson claimed.
Of course, the heart continues to develop after 10 weeks – and after birth as well. “As one cardiology textbook explains, ‘The heart is the first functional organ in the mammalian embryo; however, its full development spans the whole intrauterine period and is finished only in the postnatal period,’” according to the fact checker’s research.
These are just a few of the many, many sources for this information. Baby websites, doctors, textbooks, scientific research – even TV shows – acknowledge what millions of mothers know to be true, women who saw or heard it soon after that first positive pregnancy test: the heartbeat of a tiny, living unborn child.
These resources, contrary to Robinson’s claim, are scientific, specific and accurate. They make it clear that an unborn baby has a heart within the first few weeks of his/her development. But abortion activists have a reputation for not letting facts get in the way of their agenda.