Huffington Post Lies, Falsely Claims Unborn Babies Don’t Have a Beating Heart at 6 Weeks

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   May 19, 2021   |   5:56PM   |   Washington, DC

Through clever, deceptive rhetoric, abortion activists are trying to convince the public that basic, decades-old medical science is not true and a heartbeat is not a heartbeat.

Major news outlets like the Huffington Post, the New York Times and the Atlantic have given credence to the lie as abortion activists push back against a wave of state heartbeat laws. These laws protect unborn babies from abortion once their heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the newest heartbeat law on Wednesday, and polls show that Americans support these strong protections for unborn babies.

Perhaps that is why abortion activists are pushing so hard to discredit the solid science that is the foundation for these laws.

The Huffington Post report on the new Texas law began this way:

It’s been two years since conservative lawmakers began widely using “fetal heartbeat” rhetoric to pass bans on abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

But despite the medical community speaking out against the inaccurate language and dozens of lawsuits stopping those laws from going into effect, those bills haven’t slowed down.

Actually, pro-lifers have been talking about unborn babies’ heartbeats for decades. And very few in the medical community have criticized the heartbeat language. On the contrary, several years ago when an Atlantic writer made a similar claim about an “imaginary” heartbeat, the magazine was forced to retract much of the article after a massive outcry from scientists and doctors.

Prestigious institutions such as the Mayo Clinic and the University of Oxford also confirm that an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable by about six weeks of pregnancy. Numerous pregnancy and baby websites do, too.

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But try, try again, the Huffington Post quoted two abortionists who claim that heartbeat laws are “based on the false premise that a ‘fetal heartbeat’” exists at six weeks of pregnancy.

One was Colleen McNicholas, a Planned Parenthood abortionist in the midwest. A few years ago, McNicholas infamously told the AP that “EVERY reason to have an abortion is a valid reason,” including for sex-selection or because the baby has Down syndrome.

“To say that a six-week pregnancy has a fetal anything is incorrect,” McNicholas told the Huffington Post.

At six weeks of pregnancy, she said the term is embryo, not fetus, and “the embryo’s cardiac development ‘doesn’t at all resemble what would eventually become a functioning human adult heart.’”

“At that point, it really is just these two tubes with a couple of layers of cardiac or heart cells that can vibrate or cause some sort of movement that we use colloquially to talk about a ‘fetal heartbeat,’” McNicholas said.

Dr. Carley Zeal, an OB-GYN with the pro-abortion group Physicians for Reproductive Health, also told the news outlet that she disagrees with the terminology.

An embryo is “so small that when we review pathology from an abortion or a miscarriage at six weeks gestation, there’s not an identifiable fetus to review,” Zeal said. “It’s just a gestational sac and some cells, so it’s very small and definitely not able to live outside of the womb.”

A few weeks ago, Houston abortionist Bhavik Kumar, a board member of Physicians for Reproductive Health, also slammed the heartbeat law as “misleading” in an interview with CBS Austin. He claimed that an unborn baby’s heartbeat is not really a heartbeat at six weeks; rather, it’s just “cardiac activity.”

“We … define that more as cardiac activity, which is essentially cells that have electrical activity and there can be a sound that is heard, but it’s not a beating heart like yours or mine is,” Kumar said. “There’s a scientific difference.”

Actually, there isn’t. Kumar and other abortion activists are just using different words to describe the exact same thing in an attempt to mislead people about the facts of an unborn baby’s development. Though the unborn baby’s heart is not fully developed at six weeks of pregnancy, it already has four chambers and it is beating, according to the Endowment for Human Development.

It is well established that an unborn child’s heart begins to beat during the earliest stages of pregnancy, typically between four to six weeks after fertilization. In 2016, researchers at the University of Oxford announced findings that the heart may actually begin beating earlier – as soon as 16 days after conception.

Most pregnant women also can attest to the fact that their unborn baby has a heartbeat. YouTube is full of videos of pregnant mothers at their doctors’ offices listening to their babies’ heartbeats for the first time.

Fortunately, it appears that most Americans are not falling for abortion activists’ obvious deception. A new poll from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune found almost half (49 percent) of Texans support an abortion ban after six weeks, while 41 percent oppose it.

A 2019 Hill-HarrisX survey also found that 55 percent of voters said they do not think laws banning abortions after six weeks – when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable – are too restrictive. Gallup polls also consistently have found that a majority of Americans think all or most abortions should be illegal.