A prominent OB-GYN pushed back this week against a major news outlet’s attempts to deny that an unborn baby has a heartbeat by six weeks of pregnancy, saying facts are “inconvenient” to the pro-abortion agenda.
Dr. Christina Francis, CEO-elect of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), told Fox News that the new journalistic guidelines published by the Associated Press this week are incorrect.
“By six weeks’ gestation, the human embryo has developed an organ that contracts rhythmically to pump blood through its body, aiding in the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the blood — in other words, a heart,” Francis said.
The AP guidelines, however, tell journalists not to say that an unborn baby has a “heartbeat” by six weeks of pregnancy.
“The terms are overly broad and misleading given the disagreement over details, such as what constitutes a heartbeat at varying gestational ages,” the news agency states.
Instead, journalists should describe the unborn baby’s heartbeat as “cardiac activity,” the AP guide continues.
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“Advanced technology can detect a flickering as early as six weeks, when the embryo isn’t yet a fetus, and it has only begun forming a rudimentary heart. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists [ACOG] says it is not accurate to call that a heartbeat,” it states.
When quoting pro-life advocates, the AP tells journalists to place the terms “fetal heartbeat bill” and “heartbeat bill” in quotation marks and “provide [an] explanation.” In other words, tell readers that pro-lifers are wrong about the science.
Francis said it’s actually the AP and ACOG that are misinforming Americans about human development.
“ACOG only denies the existence of the embryonic heart when it inconveniences the pro-abortion agenda,” she told Fox News.
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.
Lectures from medical school professors, textbooks, scientists, medical organizations, pregnancy websites and more all confirm that there is a heartbeat at the earliest stages of human life. 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” by about four weeks after conception.
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.
For many years, even the Planned Parenthood abortion chain said on its website that an unborn baby’s heart is beating by about six weeks of pregnancy. However, it changed the language after heartbeat laws began gaining public support.
Asked about the change, Julia Bennett, who supervises digital education and learning strategy at Planned Parenthood, said they regularly update their website “to ensure that information is medically accurate, reflects the latest science and is accessible to learners,” according to National Review.
However, Bennett did not provide any evidence that its previous statement – “a very basic beating heart and circulatory system develop” by six weeks of pregnancy – is no longer medically accurate or that scientific understanding on the matter has changed.
Secular Pro-Life compiled an extensive 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.