A Heart by Any Other Name Would Still Make a Beat

Why do abortion advocates seem so insistent that other people adopt their self-deceiving euphemisms?

A young boy uses a stethoscope to listen to the heartbeat of his unborn sister or brother.
A young boy uses a stethoscope to listen to the heartbeat of his unborn sister or brother. (photo: Shutterstock)

Imagine my surprise when I found out in my ninth month of pregnancy that I was having twins.

This was in 1980. I already had a 23-month-old baby at home, so while I felt blessed, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t greet the news about the twins with some trepidation. Had I known a few months earlier, I would have gotten a second crib!

Doctors in the U.S. weren’t routinely using ultrasound yet, but pregnant women in Scotland started seeing their babies in the 1950s, when an obstetrician and an engineer — both men, it must be said — developed it specifically to peer into the womb. 

But in the delusional rehash of the ultrasound story told by Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, the imaging technique was invented by those two scallywags so they — and all men, everywhere — could control women’s bodies.

Yes, she actually said that. Here’s the full quote:

There is no such thing as a heartbeat at six weeks. It is a manufactured sound designed to convince people that men have the right to take control of a woman's body.

But wait, there’s more. Abrams also said Georgia’s Heartbeat Bill is badly named. “That’s medically false,” she said, “biologically a lie.”

I’m not here to refute her ridiculous claims, as that has already been done persuasively here, here and here. 

What I want to talk about is abortion advocates’ obsession with how we in the pro-life camp describe things.

Think back to the battle to get the barbaric abortion technique known as partial-birth abortion banned. Pro-aborts — who like to avoid mentioning abortion whenever possible — pointed out that the real name of the procedure was “dilation and extraction,” and that it was just some crazy pro-lifers who insisted on otherwise describing a procedure that involves delivering a baby so that everything but his or her head was outside the birth canal, and then puncturing the baby’s brain with scissors and collapsing the skull.

“Partial-birth” might not be a medical term but it’s certainly spot-on in conveying exactly what we mean when we talk about this type of abortion.

Pro-aborts also take exception to the term “dismemberment abortion” to describe the other second-trimester technique — this one, still widely in use. They prefer “dilation and evacuation.” But in this NPR explainer of the partial-birth situation from 2006, the reporter accidentally told the truth: 

Abortions performed after the 20th week of pregnancy typically require that the fetus be dismembered inside the womb so it can be removed without damaging the pregnant woman’s cervix.

When a body is being torn limb from limb, it is correctly described as dismemberment. That it’s still legal and happening daily should be where we direct our outrage, rather than having to defend ourselves for using non-medical terms.

But back to that controversial heartbeat that’s giving Abrams a myocardial infarction (the medical term for a heart attack).

Abortion extremists and their media henchmen have been downplaying the possibility that human beings in the womb have heartbeats since the heartbeat movement began more than a decade ago. Even they understand that it’s harder to justify killing something with a beating heart.

We are often reminded by the abortion-loving corporate media that six weeks is before most women know they’re pregnant. If that’s true, it also means that most abortions take place after six weeks. That’s why these heartbeat bills like the one in force in Georgia, and the ones blocked by courts in Iowa, South Carolina and Ohio, save lives. 

To get around that too-human-sounding heartbeat, an OB-GYN blogger tried to popularize the catchy phrase “fetal cardiac pole activity” instead. But even she had to admit, in this expletive-strewn piece, that “fetal cardiac activity can be detected as early at six weeks from the last menstrual period.”

No, it’s not the heartbeat of a full-grown adult, or a 2-year-old, or even of a baby in the womb in the third trimester. That’s not the point. Abortion kills human beings whose hearts beat just like yours and mine. We can dance around it, try to describe it as clinically as possible, but the truth is, every abortion that takes place beyond six weeks (and maybe earlier) stops a beating heart.