Conspiracy Theories

As conspiracy theories go, this one is probably among the most bizarre:

This is not a lady ranting under a bridge about mysterious cabals of ultrasound machine makers. She almost became the governor of Georgia.

11 thoughts on “Conspiracy Theories

  1. Actually, her first sentence is technically correct: it’s not a heartbeat as we would traditionally think about it. What is picked up at 6 weeks is the start of the ability of a group of cells to fire sporadic electrical impulses. Later in development, this previously sporadic electrical firing becomes coordinated and controls the opening/closing of the heart valves. The sound we hear at 6 weeks could not be detected by a stethoscope – these signals are not actually a sound but are electrical signals that are turned into sound by the machine.
    At 6 weeks, the heart is a single tube of cells, rather than the four-chambered structure is will become, and the valves that make the “lubdub” sound we think of as a heartbeat simply don’t exist yet. The structure becomes more like what we would think of as a heart, with four tubes connected up to the lungs and vasculature, at around 10 weeks.
    I’m not going to comment on the accuracy of the second sentence because that is politics, not science.

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    1. Actually, I think I’m wrong about the electrical signals controlling the valves: it is more likely that they control the contraction of the heart muscles (which in turn squeezes blood through the valves).

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    2. I saw Klara’s heartbeat on a monitor at 5 weeks. It definitely wasn’t a fully formed four-chambered heart but it was a very clearly visible pulsation. As science develops, we will see more, more clearly, and in greater detail. We can try to integrate what we see into our life philosophy or… develop conspiracy theories.

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        1. Thank you! Though I do use the word “actually” too much (cringe). And yes, as our tools become more powerful, we have to be more specific in how we define terms that were previously straightforward.

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  2. I mean. It’s a heartbeat. Everyone calls it a heartbeat. It’s just not a heart like we think of it. But embryonic development is a complex thing and politics is meant to keep things as simple as possible. What’s more simple than saying something doesn’t exist? Damn politicians should keep their heads out of it regardless of their positions.

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  3. Some of my more progressive friends picked up on her talking points yesterday. It really irked me in 2 ways:

    1) It is just so dismissive of the importance that early scan holds for most pregnant woman. Detection of cardiac activity at the 6-8 week mark is a key indicator of the viability of pregnancy. I’ve been through it 3 times and was elated and relieve 2 of those times and devastated another. Was I wrong to have any feeling about those scans because it was a developing cardiac structure rather than a fully developed heart?

    2) How condescending could this position be? One person framed it as “We need to tell pregnant people and people suffering miscarriages the truth!” (Eye roll at “people”…we’re women.) Pregnant women (even those seeking abortions) are all keenly aware of the stages of embryonic and fetal development. We don’t need a doctor telling us what’s happening in impersonal medical terminology.

    I use the term “cardiac activity” in my first point because, when I went through my own pregnancy loss, it was the term that let me keep emotional distance from the embryo while acknowledging that it was human. But that’s the way I dealt with it…and my doctor followed my lead. All of this overwrought jargon is just another way to erode the standard of care people receive. Patients can’t follow it and it discourages patients and doctors from forming relationships that are key to good healthcare.

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    1. Completely in agreement on all points.

      Why is there this fear of the word “heartbeat”? Is it that a pregnant woman will see it, hear the words, and decide not to abort? How will that be a bad thing? It’s still her decision. If she decides not to abort, it means she wasn’t convinced she needed to abort to begin with.

      I’m very sorry for your loss. It’s devastating and women don’t need to be treated like mentally incompetent creatures at any point, and especially during pregnancy.

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      1. IMO, the fear is because acknowledging it’s a heartbeat means much more acknowledging it is a human as opposed to just a blob of tissue, which greatly complicates the issue for the pro-choice crowd as they do not want to acknowledge that abortion can involve killing an unborn child.

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        1. I am not really sure that is it. Stacey Abrams does not believe on placing limits on abortion. It is hard to argue that a child one day before being born (full term) is a clump of cells, but magically becomes a child a day after. People who are OK with 3rd trimester abortions do not have a problem to acknowledge that abortion involves killing an unborn child. I think this is a strategy to get elected in Georgia running on the abortion platform since there is a law under consideration that forbids all abortions after detection of the fetal heartbeat (it was enacted in 2019, but is currently being challenged so it is not in full force from what I understand). She is trying to redefine what “fetal heartbeat” means.

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        2. I’m a pro-abortion rights crowd of one and I honestly say that seeing my daughter’s heartbeat at 5 weeks was the most powerful experience of my life until that moment. Not that I ever considered aborting, obviously. But it was a beautiful, beautiful moment and I don’t want anybody to shit on it in service of a political agenda. If a woman discovers that she can’t abort after seeing the heartbeat, then that’s great. Let’s also not forget all of us who don’t want to abort. Our feelings and experiences are important, too.

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