Tuesday, The Atlantic published an article by Moira Weigel, a "writer and a doctoral candidate in comparative literature at Yale University." The piece, titled: "How Ultrasound Became Political," comes at the reader like a wrecking ball, with the clear intent to discredit fetal ultrasounds.
Weigel makes numerous claims that deserve examination, and they will indeed be examined in another piece, however, the focus of this article is the post-publication corrections.
After Weigel's piece was published, The Atlantic was forced to make corrections, which are listed at the bottom of the page. To be fair, errors are an inevitable byproduct of frequent writing. There are few writers who haven't had to return to a piece in order to correct a mistake. Mistakes, however, are generally relegated to spelling and grammatical errors, misidentified locations, etc. Weigel's piece, on the other hand, was subject to four major factual corrections.
* 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. We regret the error.
** This article originally stated that the fetus was already suffering from a genetic disorder. We regret the error.
*** This article originally stated that Bernard Nathanson headed the National Right-to-Life Committee and became a born-again Christian. Nathanson was active in but did not head the committee, and he converted to Roman Catholicism after The Silent Scream was produced. We regret the error.
**** This article originally stated that the doctors claimed fetuses had no reflexive responses to medical instruments at 12 weeks. We regret the error.
This stunning list of corrections provides insight into Weigel's writing process, as well as the intensity of her philosophy. The number and scale of Weigel's errors points to one of three possibilities. A) Weigel rushed the piece, and in her haste, didn't bother to do more than cursory research. B) Weigel's agenda, which is clear, superseded the need to be faithful to reality. C) Weigel's alleged errors were intentional.
Without the help of Professor X, no one can truly know what Weigel's intentions were. However, one thing is all but certain: Moira Weigel's fervency regarding a "woman's right to choose" led her to make numerous critical errors, which, prior to the corrections being made, greatly misinformed those who read her piece.
It's a political writer's responsibility to be intellectually honest, regardless of their philosophies. More to the point, it's vital to avoid printing incorrect information, especially when such information is easily verifiable with a five-minute Google search.