Georgia Democrat candidate for Governor Stacy Abrams claimed ultrasound technology was developed to allow men to control women’s bodies. She told a panel discussion, “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.”
Washington Post “fact checker” Glenn Kessler sprang to action… to defend Abrams.
FWIW, “fetal heartbeat” is a misnomer. The ultrasound picks up electrical activity generated by an embryo. The so-called “heartbeat” sound you hear is created by the ultrasound. Not until 10 weeks can the opening and closing of cardiac valves be detected by a Doppler machine.
Which prompted a response from an actual doctor:
Radiologist Pradheep J. Shanker quickly pointed out that Kessler has no idea what he is talking about: “Glenn… This is scientifically and medically incorrect. 100%. Ultrasound can’t detect electrical activity. Who told you otherwise?”
He said the NPR article Kessler cited was wrong. “Ultrasound only detects density and motion. It cannot detect any electrical activity at all. This is a scientific fact,” Shanker declared. “It is true that the valves in the heart develop later. However, the cardiac muscles that are located in the embryological heart are contracting. They are in fact moving inward and outward. That is how you define a beat.”
He conceded that a fetal heartbeat isn’t the same as a fully developed adult heartbeat but added, “the cardiac tissue is contracting, which is literally what a beat is. To say otherwise is scientific misinformation, and cannot be treated otherwise.”
Much like the former candidate for Senate in Missouri lost his race after making comments about “legitimate rape” not leading to pregnancy, Abrams probably had made these comments to political allies. And she probably never had pushback from those folks. Unchallenged ideas are easy to hold.
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