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Still from Live Action's 'Baby Olivia' filmYouTube/Screenshot

(Live Action) — The Associated Press (AP) released an article on February 22 focused on Live Action’s groundbreaking “Baby Olivia” video and the legislative efforts to ensure that fetal development is included in public school sex education/health curriculum.

The outlet called “Baby Olivia,” which uses groundbreaking animation to depict life in the womb from the moment of fertilization, “a new front in state-level abortion politics.” In other words, the AP attempts to paint “Baby Olivia” as nothing more than a pro-life political move.

READ: Donald Trump and Kari Lake are dead wrong to defend IVF: here’s why

In reality, “Baby Olivia” is educational material that is now being politicized by those who favor abortion.

Targeting Live Action

The AP targets Live Action in the article, originally claiming that some of the organization’s pro-life efforts specifically concerning Planned Parenthood “led a federal jury to award Planned Parenthood $2 million in damages in 2019.” But this is a major factual inaccuracy, as AP’s own previous reporting proves.

The AP – a frequent “fact checker” – was forced to issue a correction as to its original claim. In 2019, when Planned Parenthood was awarded just over $2 million in damages, it was following the release of fetal body part trafficking videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress, not Live Action.

Educational curriculum

State legislatures in Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, and West Virginia are debating bills that would require public school students to watch “Baby Olivia” or a similar video during sex ed/health classes. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed a law into effect last year requiring “Baby Olivia” or equivalent video content to be shown in its public schools.

Under HB 1265, both health curriculum and human sexuality instruction in North Dakota schools must show a high-definition video depicting the formation of vital organs in early fetal development. Viewing human growth and development in two separate classes before high school graduation is now the state standard in schools across North Dakota.

As previously noted by Live Action News, the vast majority of information featured in the video was gleaned from the detailed “award-winning content” from the Endowment for Human Development (EHD). EHD is a self-described “nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health science education and public health” which is “​​committed to neutrality regarding all controversial bioethical issues.” Its website states that its “board of directors, board of advisors, staff, and volunteers includes accomplished educators, researchers, authors, programmers, and clinicians from a variety of scientific and business disciplines who share the common goal of improving lifelong health through prenatal development-based education.” As reported, “U.S. science educators have endorsed the organization’s award-winning content, which National Geographic also distributes.”

To educate or to manipulate?

The “Baby Olivia” video is medically accurate and was reviewed and endorsed by OB-GYNs and other medical professionals, including Dr. David Bolender, Ph.D., Cell Biology, Neurobiology & Anatomy, Medical College of Wisconsin; Dr. Donna Harrison of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Michelle Cretella, MD, Executive Director of the American College of Pediatricians; and Jeffrey Barrows, DO, MA, Senior VP Bioethics and Public Policy for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations.

For its article, however, the AP turned to the pro-abortion American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which claimed the video was “designed to manipulate the emotions of viewers.” It should be noted that ACOG is stridently pro-abortion and is funded by radical abortion organizations, including Ibis Reproductive Health – which is funded by U.S. abortion pill manufacturer Danco Laboratories – and by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, a Danco investor.

ACOG recently received $1.4 million from the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, which funds many pro-abortion efforts worldwide, and has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from that foundation every year for several years. Buffett was also one of the first investors in Danco.

READ: Wyoming bill could force state’s last abortion facility to close

Live Action noted in a press release, “ACOG is out of line with what the large majority of OB-GYNs actually believe. It does not represent all OB-GYNs on abortion and gestational development issues… ACOG’s abortion advocacy began shortly after its founding in 1951 by leaders involved with Planned Parenthood, the Population Council (which brought the abortion pill to the United States), and the American Eugenics Society. In 1968, ACOG’s leaders endorsed the decriminalization of abortion. ACOG is anything but impartial about abortion.”

Lila Rose added, “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), has become a highly politicized organization that, despite the disagreement of thousands of its members, advocates for abortion on demand.”

Rose called it “telling” that “the only medical expert the AP could find who would go on record for the piece criticizing ‘Baby Olivia’ is the co-founder of a pro-abortion activist group in Iowa. This fact itself was disguised by the AP when they referred to her affiliation as the leader of a ‘reproductive rights’ group instead of disclosing the group’s main objective, which is opposing all abortion restrictions.”

Medically accurate depictions of human development

Despite what ACOG claims about “Baby Olivia,” a viewer’s “emotional” reaction to seeing life in the womb is, essentially, irrelevant to the fact that the science of human development in the womb is a biological reality. As Rose noted, “Every student in our nation should have access to the facts about human development. It is tragic that basic facts about human biology are so controversial for abortion supporters in 2024.”

READ: 89,000 babies have been saved from abortion since end of Roe: report

Certified OB-GYN Kathi Aultman, MD, FACOG, attested to the accuracy of Live Action’s video:

Olivia is a spectacular and medically accurate portrayal of the development of a baby girl within the womb. It is based on information from the Endowment for Human Development, a highly respected scientific source on embryology and fetal development. Olivia draws back the curtain on the womb giving us a realistic glimpse of the baby within. As a retired OB-GYN, I wish this had been available for my patients.

So did Dr. Jeffrey Barrows, DO, MA, of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations:

This video is an accurate and vivid portrayal of the intrauterine development of the baby. If I were still practicing obstetrics, I would be showing this to all of my pregnant patients.

Because “Baby Olivia” is, indeed, medically accurate, the AP struggled to find a strong argument against its representation of fetal development, and focused instead on the video’s use of “weeks after fertilization” as milestone markers for life in the womb. As noted in Live Action’s press release (emphasis added):

The Associated Press[…] references a letter written by ‘Iowa physicians and educators’ as a source for two additional criticisms of Baby Olivia – namely, that the video’s method of gauging the age of the preborn child is flawed, and that its portrayal of Olivia’s heartbeat is inaccurate. Notably, however, no citation to the alleged letter is provided, making it impossible to confirm that it truly says what the AP claims…

Regarding the criticism of Baby Olivia’s method of calculating preborn age, the AP states: ‘Iowa physicians and educators said in a letter to state lawmakers that by using weeks after fertilization, the video misleads viewers because the framing indicates milestones happen about two weeks earlier than is accurate.’

However, this criticism is itself inaccurate. Dating a child from the moment of fertilization, also known as ‘conceptual age,’ reflects the chronological age of the child. As doctors Max Mongelli, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Sydney, and Jason O. Gardosi, Professor of Maternal and Perinatal Health at the University of Warwick, write in their 2021 medical journal article titled Evaluation of Gestation:

‘Gestational age (GA) refers to the length of pregnancy after the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP) and is usually expressed in weeks and days. This is also known as menstrual age. Conceptional age (CA) is the true fetal age and refers to the length of pregnancy from the time of conception.’

Dating a pregnancy by using conceptual age, as Baby Olivia does, is the most scientifically and medically accurate method.

The AP also claimed that “references to fetal ‘heartbeat’ are widely disputed. At six weeks, the embryo isn’t yet a fetus and doesn’t have a heart.” However, this is scientifically inaccurate.

The human heart is the first organ to develop, according to multiple doctors – including Dr. Mobeen Syed and pediatric cardiologist Dr. Regina Lantin-Hermoso. Syed explained, “[The] heart is the very first organ that starts developing and it is the first organ that reaches a functional state. Can you imagine that the heart reaches a functional state even before its own development completes? When the heart is in the form of a tube, even then it is pulsating and it is beating and it is pumping blood.” (emphasis added)

Lantin-Hermoso noted that “in order for the embryo to develop into a fetus, circulation must replace diffusion. And for this reason – if there is no circulation, then the rest of the organ systems are not going to develop and therefore the cardiovascular system is the very first organ system to reach maturity. Cardiac development begins very early… at about 15 to 18 days post-conception.”

READ: GOP senators propose bill to protect aborted babies from gruesome medical experimentation

In addition, Peter J. Ward, Professor of Anatomy, explained, “The heart, to do its job, has to be able to pump, and it starts pumping fairly early on – about day 23 of development… At this point, we’ve got a nice flow of blood already set up through the heart.” (emphasis added)

The AP goes on to state: “The video also describes the animated figure’s motion and actions with words like ‘playing,’ ‘exploring,’ ‘sighing,’ and making ‘speaking movements.’ Those words assign human traits and properties to a fetus that are more sophisticated than medicine can prove[.]”

Live Action president and founder Lila Rose responded, “It is a fact that children in the womb are human beings; they will possess traits that are characteristic of their species. Live Action and the medical experts we collaborated with stand by the scientific accuracy of every aspect in Baby Olivia.”

The necessity of education on human development

It simply makes sense to educate human beings on how each human life begins. Objections to teaching children about basic biological facts should be viewed with skepticism – especially when those same objectors favor promoting radical pro-abortion ideology and arguably age-inappropriate sex education in schools.

Ryan N. Benn, Esq., Director of Policy at the Iowa Family Leadernoted that schools “already require teaching human development. And if we are going to teach human development, the curriculum should begin at the beginning – when the human first starts to develop.” He adds, “This bill simply informs students of the facts – that human development doesn’t start once a baby has been delivered – it starts nine months before that. If people haven’t seen the Baby Olivia video, they should watch it! It’s very well done, it’s informative, and it demonstrates the humanity of babies in the womb.”

Addia Wuchner, registered nurse and Executive Director at Kentucky Right to Life, said:

In a world where science and technology continually push the boundaries of human understanding, it’s essential to celebrate the magnificence of biological processes, especially those surrounding human development. ‘Baby Olivia,’ an animated portrayal of fetal development, stands as a beacon of biological education for all age groups, providing an understanding of gestational age and embryological milestones.

WATCH: Can unborn children be LEGALLY represented?

Additionally, John Mize, Chief Executive Officer at Americans United for Life stated:

Students deserve the facts about human development as reviewed by doctors and medical experts who are not on the payroll of Planned Parenthood. Americans United for Life applauds those state lawmakers working to ensure students in their states have access to best-in-class educational materials on the amazing facts of human development in the womb. The facts of human development are what they are, and we owe young people those facts captured so well by Live Action’s Baby Olivia.

Lila Rose noted in response to the AP’s article, “It is disappointing that the Associated Press seems determined to challenge the fact that human beings in the womb are human beings. Unfortunately, their pro-abortion bias has gotten in the way of objective journalism.”

Reprinted with permission from Live Action.