FACTZ Check: Is Stacey Abrams Right That Heartbeats Can’t Be Heard at 6 Weeks of Pregnancy

A new video is making the rounds of Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams making what many consider a wild and outlandish claim.

In the video, Abrams is heard saying, “There is no such thing as a heartbeat at six weeks. It is a manufactured sim designed to convince people that men have the right to take control of a woman’s body.”

It sounds like bullshit, right? But is there a grain of truth to it?

Here’s the thing – it’s accurate but misleading.

At six weeks, a heart is not fully developed. “While the heart does begin to develop at around six weeks, at this point, the heart as we know it does not yet exist,” said Dr. Ian Fraser Golding, a pediatric and fetal cardiologist at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego.

At six weeks, it’s just a cluster of cardiac cells.

But it does make a rhythmic beating sound.

So while yes, a sound can be heard on ultrasound – it cannot be accurately called a heartbeat. For that point, Abrams takes the win.

But is it manufactured to convince people that men have the right to take control of a woman’s body? That probably depends on why the mother is being played the embryo’s cardiac pattern.

Many abortion clinics require that the mother be played the sound before she can commit to an abortion, and in that case, one might argue that it’s more than a little manipulative.

But the vast majority of people sitting before an ultrasound and listening to the thump-thump-thump of what eventually does develop into a heartbeat probably already know how they feel about the developing embryo, and it’s not about manipulating them or convincing them they should be controlled.

So for this one, we rate it: intentionally deceptive but not entirely inaccurate.

Do better, Stacey.


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