An unborn baby must develop a heart that beats by about 22 days of pregnancy in order to survive and grow, said Dr. Peter Ward, a respected embryology professor and researcher, in a recent lecture to medical students.
The lecture refutes recent propaganda from abortion activists claiming that an unborn baby does not have a heartbeat by six weeks of pregnancy.
Ward’s talk had nothing to do with politics or the abortion issue. A professor at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, he described the development of the human heart in a 2018 YouTube series through Lecturio Medical, which helps medical students prepare for the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).
In the nine-minute video, Ward explained that the heart begins as a “single tube” in the human embryo very early after the unique, human life begins, and quickly develops into a functioning, beating organ.
The myocardium, or muscle of the heart, “starts beating about 22 days into development,” he said.
“This is important because at this point the embryo can’t get much larger without a heart,” Ward continued. “Simple diffusion of gasses and nutrients from cells is no longer sufficient to handle the size of the embryo. We can’t just create cavity after cavity for these things to diffuse. We need to have a circulatory system, and the heart starts pumping at 22 days because we absolutely have to have it to get any larger.”
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Ward has been teaching embryology, anatomy, histology and neuroscience since 2005, according to Lecturio. His degrees are from Carnegie Mellon University and Purdue University.
Although the science is clear and has been for decades, abortion activists, politicians and mainstream news outlets recently began calling it into question after states began passing heartbeat laws to protect unborn babies from abortion.
Earlier this week, a video surfaced of Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams claiming an unborn baby’s heartbeat is a “manufactured sound” created to control women.
However, the science is well established that the heart is the first organ to develop in a human being, and an unborn baby’s heart begins to beat within the first few weeks after conception.
Secular Pro-Life recently compiled a list of quotes from textbooks, scientific journals and other expert sources that confirm an unborn baby’s heart begins to beat as early as 22 days gestation.
For example, a pregnancy outline on the Mayo Clinic website states “the heart and other organs also are starting to form and the heart begins to beat” at about four weeks after conception.
And a study several years ago by the University of Oxford and the British Heart Foundation suggests that the human heart may begin beating as early as 16 days after conception.
“The heart is the first organ to form during pregnancy and is critical in providing oxygen and nutrients to the developing embryo,” the university researchers wrote.
Many doctors, scientists, textbooks and other expert sources also have been responding to Abrams’ false claim this week by confirming that an unborn baby does have a beating heart by six weeks of pregnancy, if not sooner.