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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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‘The Atlantic’ has trouble identifying when a baby’s heartbeat actually begins

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 26, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- One of the most powerful magazines in the nation's capital not only published an article full of errors about fetal hearts not really beating and ultrasounds being misused by pro-lifers but refused to admit its errors by correcting their story without acknowledgement.

The Atlantic's article, "How the Ultrasound Pushed the Idea That a Fetus Is a Person" by Moira Weigel, seeks to negate the influence of prenatal ultrasounds in a "war on science" and "common sense."

The pro-abortion Weigel calls a baby that has a heartbeat a "cell mass that might become a fetus," writing "Ultrasound images … played a key role in reducing the status of mothers to 'fetal incubators.'"

Weigel makes several points against ultrasound technology, all of which are completely false.

"The technology has been used to create an imaginary 'heartbeat,'" Weigel incredulously wrote.

For more than 60 years, doctors have used ultrasound technology, and for nearly 40 years they have used it to detect fetal heartbeats. In American society, it has become a tradition as the highly-anticipated first sounding between moms and dads and their babies.

As The Daily Caller pointed out, "In truth, there’s nothing imaginary about either the heart or the heartbeat of a six-week-old fetus."

After receiving complaints, The Atlantic deleted the "imaginary" sentence but didn't acknowledge the correction. The magazine renamed the article and its subhead, again without admitting its deception.

In another glaring falsehood, Weigel stereotyped, "(S)ped-up [ultrasound] videos … falsely depict a response to stimulus."

But Weigel was criticizing a single instance of the technology, not ultrasound "videos" in general. Weigel noted that the late Dr. Bernard Nathanson briefly sped up his video of a fetal ultrasound in the former abortionist's pro-life documentary, The Silent Scream. Nathanson was demonstrating the pre-born's visible response to an abortionist's instrument violating the womb.

The truth is, using ultrasounds to show pre-born responses to stimuli has been long-established as legitimate science by the medical and research communities.

“It is dubious to call this movement a ‘heartbeat’" Weigel wrote. And again, as if to repeat her claim so many times people come to believe it, Weigel asserts, "(T)here is no heart to speak of."

Virtually all medical professionals recognize this as the beginning of a baby's heart and his or her heartbeat.

The Mayo Clinic affirms that “four weeks after conception … your baby’s heart is pumping blood.”

Additionally, The Federalist noted that Weigel's article implied the false claim – known to be untrue by many if not most prospective parents – that only men are allowed to use ultrasounds.

Weigel also misrepresented Ohio's Heartbeat Bill and wrote that John Kasich is the governor of Indiana and not the Buckeye state. The Atlantic only later "updated" the error, without acknowledgement.

When The Atlantic finally admitted its error regarding a baby’s heart, the editor's note implied it was the only mistake.

“This article originally stated that there is ‘no heart to speak of’ in a six-week-old fetus. By that point in a pregnancy, a heart has already begun to form," the editors inserted. "We regret the error.”

Eventually, Weigel reveals her real target as the heartbeat bills that have been passed by states around the country and those currently being considered. She attempts to discredit ultrasounds in order to stop pro-life bills that require informed consent in the form of an ultrasound before abortion.

Actually, as The Federalist points out and as the science of ultrasound confirms, "abortion activists know what they’re doing: they are voluntarily choosing to end a precious and distinct human life."

"After all, if that unborn baby girl weren’t alive, the abortionist wouldn’t be so hellbent on killing her," Sean Davis writes. "And if her heart weren’t beating, the abortionist wouldn’t have to try so hard to make it stop."

Ironically, what Weigel intends to be damning evidence against the pre-born's six-week heartbeat actually could be confirmation of earlier signs of life. Trying to disprove the science of ultrasound technology, she writes, "What the appearance of the flicker on the ultrasound shows is not a change of state, but a threshold of the imaging technology."

So then, perhaps, one day technology will improve to show the baby's heartbeat, or other life-affirming evidence attesting to the independent humanity of the pre-born at an even earlier gestational age.

It's our technology, and not the humanity of the pre-born, that has yet to mature to the point of recognizing that a pregnant woman is "with child."

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