Stacey Abrams did more than draw a firestorm of criticism when she disputed the heartbeat of a six-week-old developing child. Without meaning to, she exposed the ideological corruption of her own side. Of course she joined nearly all her fellow Democrats who are trying to make political hay of “abortion rights.” This although inflation and “law and disorder,” not any social issue, will drive voters to the polls on this Midterms. But when they do that, they draw allies in the media and the medical profession. Those allies now deny the wisdom of the ages, and twist science into a soulless, utilitarian construct. Forty-nine years of declaring “a right” to destroy life have brought us to this pass. The damage to conventional institutions might be irreparable, so that only their replacement will serve.
What Stacey Abrams said
Stacey Abrams, on Monday, September 19, took part in a panel called “Beautiful Noise Live: Equality on the Ballot.” While on that stage, she said this:
There is no such thing as a heartbeat at six weeks. It is a manufactured sound designed to convince people that men have the right to take control of a woman’s body.
The Twitter account “Breaking 911” posted twelve seconds of video of her remarks three days later:
Almost immediately that tweet attracted a firestorm of rebuttal. Among the replies came this from Meghan McCain:
Hearing my babies heartbeats at 6 weeks is hands down one of the most exciting, liberating and most beautiful moments of my entire life. Hands down.
Stacey Abrams is a very sick person to say this and somehow accuse doctors of faking fetal heartbeats. Full stop.
The “sickness” would of course be the paranoid idea that an obstetrical sonograph includes a manufactured sound effect. To manufacture in this context means to make something up that corresponds to nothing in the real world. She might as well have said the builders of these sonographs have conspired together to build in a sound recording and play it at the right moment, for the benefit of mothers-to-be.
Obstetrics is the care of mothers-to-be up to and a few days after her child is born.
A sonograph is literally a device that writes with sound. (The sonogram is the thing the sonograph writes.) This device also gets the name ultrasound machine, though the device is not mechanical.
A sonograph is essentially a souped-up stethoscope. It uses sound pitched higher than the highest possible treble sound (20,000 cycles per second). A sensitive microphone reads echoes of this sound and uses them to draw a picture. More sophisticated sonographs prepare motion pictures for the doctor’s benefit. Cardiologists (doctors who take care of your heart) use sonographs, which they also call echocardiographs, in their work. So do obstetricians.
An obstetrical sonograph can also do something interesting. At anywhere from four to six weeks, the developing child gains a circulatory system, basically a set of tubes. One of them thickens, and also acquires the first of two electrical nodes. This is the eventual sinoatrial node that actually is the natural pacemaker. Once that starts, the tube regularly contracts and starts behaving as a blood pump. This tube will eventually thicken further, subdivide, and organize itself to form the heart. The obstetrical sonograph picks up the discharges from the natural pacemaker, and translates them into audible sound. This is the heartbeat at issue in this context. And it is no less real than the “heart tone” the obstetrician can hear with a conventional stethoscope many weeks later.
Trying to make something less real – and less than human
And now we see members of the medical profession deliberately trying to make this heartbeat less than real. Dr. Esther Choo, writing at MSNBC, is a sad case in point. She actually says, “there is no heart.” Meghan McCain’s experiences at six weeks of pregnancy, she dismisses as “irrelevant.” She reduces the sinoatrial node to that expression pro-choice apologists once used for the entire child: “a clump of cells.”
Within the less than half-an-inch mass, there is not yet any structure recognizable as a heart, no pumping of blood, no circulatory system within which it could be pumped, and no developed end organs to pump it to.
Stop quibbling, Doctor. (And remember: I have a medical degree.) The Cleveland Clinic still speaks of a “heart” at that stage, and so does The Johns Hopkins Hospital. That thickened tube might not have valves yet, but it’s still contracting. In fact, Dr. Choo even admits that this tone is a useful diagnostic aid. It’s one way to tell that a woman is a mother-to-be – or to tell that the baby is dead or dying. As she knows from her own personal experience.
Stacey Abrams inspires dehumanization
Yet, purely to back up Stacey Abrams in her dehumanizing statement, she resorts to such quibbles as I never heard from any of my professors of anatomy and embryology. And she does worse:
Historically, the heart was seen as the repository of the soul, intellect and emotion. Despite tremendous advances in our understanding of human anatomy and physiology, we retain an inclination to imbue even the whisper of a heart’s presence with outsize emotional significance. But a human life is more than a heartbeat, and a “heartbeat” is insufficient to produce a human, not least when it only reflects periodic electrical activity produced by a clump of precursor cells.
In other words, come on, kids, get with The Program. She actually equates technological advancement with dehumanization – and celebrates the latter. “Outsize emotional significance,” indeed. And how dare she regard that child as subhuman, as she does in her next sentence?
Sanitization after Stacey Abrams – and even before
Sadly, Dr. Choo has plenty of company – and this is the real tragedy. Last September, when Texas passed its Heartbeat Act, The Mayo Clinic sanitized its own page. Ben Johnson at The Washington Stand gives the details. From The Wayback Machine he extracted two snapshots of the Mayo Clinic’s page on child development in the womb. Before the Act passed, they said that during the sixth week:
The heart and other organs also are starting to form and the heart begins to beat.
But not afterward! Today they say only that
The heart and other organs also are starting to form.
Which implies that the heart at that stage is inert, doing nothing. Fortunately the Endowment for Human Development still has this video, which Life News embedded.
Here is their transcript:
The heart typically beats about 113 times per minute.
Note how the heart changes color as blood enters and leaves its chambers with each beat.
The heart will beat approximately 54 million times before birth and over 3.2 billion times over the course of an 80-year lifespan.
Note also: some authorities seem to refer to four weeks, some to six. The confusion results from different dating conventions for when a woman becomes a mother-to-be.
You expect this kind of sanitization from Planned Parenthood. But you don’t expect it from the Mayo Clinic, nor such dehumanizing quibbles.
Elsewhere in the media
The Macon Telegraph reported mainly on the sanitized version. But they did, like the Free Beacon, verify the sanitization of the Planned Parenthood site. They also cite the Cleveland Clinic, which has not sanitized its relevant page.
Andrew Dorn at News Nation Now highlights the official quibble from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (Gynecologists are doctors who take care of women exclusively.) That body coined the term cardiac activity to replace “heartbeat.” One wonders whether they were preparing for possible legal defenses in Texas Heartbeat Act lawsuits. (Not that it matters, because Texas, after Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s, passed an even stronger pre-born child protection law.)
The New York Times, more than a month ago, described how Stacey Abrams flat-out changed her mind on when a child deserves any protection under the law. She now says they deserve that protection at birth – and not before.
In 1818, Mary Shelley, ten years before the birth of Jules Verne, virtually invented science fiction. She gave us Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. Most people, when they think of that novel, think of “The Monster.” But Viktor Frankenstein is the real tragic character. He blurs the line between life and death and actually reassembles a human being from various parts. Of course this person, knowing how unique (and how ugly) he is, goes insane and seeks revenge.
Beginning in the twentieth century, the medical profession worldwide blurred that distinction again, and denied the humanity of developing children. No society permitted the resulting excesses more than the United States of America, for forty-nine years. And CNAV cannot decide which is worse:
- A society that does not care whether a developing child is human or not, because it regards all life as cheap (like Mainland China with its one-child-per-woman policy and forced organ harvesting), or
- A society that denies that a human being, at any stage of development, is human.
The medical profession – and the clergy – must try to repair the damage from forty-nine years of a Frankensteinian dystopia. But repair might not suffice. We already have an alternative media. Now alternative medicine must expand to replace conventional medicine, with its myriads of Doctors Frankenstein regarding life as their plaything. Stacey Abrams alerted us to that, though she’d be sorry to realize that.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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