Atlantic Fake News: Fetal Heartbeats Are ‘Imaginary’

A pregnant Albanian woman lies on a bed while doctor looks at the foetus on a monitor as he carries out a sonogram on April 20, 2015 in Tirana. Selective abortions remain a common practise in Albania and several Balkan countries, where an imbalance between boys and girls at birth …

The Atlantic magazine had to scramble Tuesday to repeatedly amend a new article against ultrasound technology that spoke of fetal heartbeats as “imaginary” and denied that unborn babies are alive.

When a series of observers pointed out the many flagrant falsehoods in the story, the Atlantic issued a formal retraction of its statement that there is “no heart to speak of” in a six-week old fetus. Nonetheless, it merely changed its provocative subtitle without comment: “The technology has been used to create an ‘imaginary’ heartbeat and sped-up videos that falsely depict a response to stimulus.”

Fetal heartbeat

It also silently expunged other embarrassing errors in the piece, such as calling John Kasich the governor of Indiana.

Timed for publication just before the massive March for Life in Washington DC for the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, the article by Moira Weigel attempts to show how ultrasounds of unborn children have no discernible effect on a woman’s choice to carry the baby to term.

Even the amended piece contains outright lies, taking the Atlantic’s “fake news” to a whole new level.

Weigel makes the ludicrous claim that ultrasound “made it possible for the male doctor to evaluate the fetus without female interference.” According to a 2015 study, women make up an impressive 85 percent of all residents in obstetrics and gynecology in the graduate medical education class of 2013-2014. This means that the vast majority of doctors wielding ultrasounds are women, not men.

Ultrasounds are not a weapon of the patriarchy, but an important scientific tool used more often by women than by men.

Weigel also claims that “science” attributes no meaning to an ultrasound image, and thus pregnant women who see an ultrasound will not recognize this meaning. The inference is that pregnant women should not see an ultrasound of their child, lest they mistakenly and “unscientifically” attribute some meaning to it (for example, the sex of their baby?).

“The origins of fetal ultrasound lie in stealth warfare,” Weigel ominously declares, and “opponents of abortion enlisted it in their cause. It became an article of faith that women would respond to seeing ultrasound images by ‘recognizing’ that the fetus gestating inside them was a ‘baby’—and, by extension, that abortion would be murder.”

Weigel’s solution? Keep women in the dark. If you don’t like the message, kill the messenger.

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