Doctors argue that the bans, known as fetal heartbeat bills, are medically inaccurate and use misleading language
High-profile gynecologists are criticizing the framing of six-week abortion bans, known as fetal heartbeat bills, as medically inaccurate.
The bans, now moving through nearly a dozen state legislatures, propose the strictest limitations on the right to abortion as established by the US supreme court case Roe v Wade in 1973.
These bills present the idea that theres something that looks like what you or a person on the street would call a baby a thing thats almost ready to go for a walk, said Dr Jen Gunter, a gynecologist in Canada and the US who runs an influential blog. In reality, youre talking about something thats millimeters in size and doesnt look anything like that.
That early in a pregnancy, Gunter said, an embryo does not have a heart at least, not what we understand a human heart to be, with pumping tubes and ventricles. At six weeks, a human embryo throbs, but those tissues have not yet formed an organ, so the pulsing should not be confused with a heartbeat.
When throbbing of some tissue begins, its not a heart, said Dr Sara Imershein, a gynecologist and obstetrician in Falls Church, Virginia. Really, we call it an embryo until about nine weeks from last menstrual period, or roughly three weeks after the new laws prohibit termination of pregnancy.
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