Reporters are parroting — and spreading — sentimental falsehoods.
May 27 2023
“ONCE A FETAL heartbeat could be detected, typically around the sixth week of pregnancy … ”
When I read this phrase in the New Yorker, referring to Texas’s first abortion ban, I shot off a letter to the editor. “This is misleading,” I wrote. “There is no heartbeat at six weeks because the fetus does not yet have a heart. As San Francisco OB-GYN Dr. Jennifer Kerns told NPR: ‘What we’re really detecting is a grouping of cells that are initiating some electrical activity. In no way is this detecting a functional cardiovascular system or a functional heart.’” I noted that “a six-week fetus is about the size and shape of a baked bean.”