Chris Cuomo Suggests Babies Don’t Have A ‘Heartbeat’ At 6 Weeks. Here’s What Science Says
Chris Cuomo visits SiriusXM Studios on September 26, 2018 in New York City.
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

CNN’s Chris Cuomo and an abortionist denied that a six-week-old baby has a fetal heartbeat — or a heart — during a special, two-hour-long episode of “Cuomo Prime Time” on Thursday night. But numerous college-level textbooks, peer-reviewed journal articles, and authoritative sources affirm that an unborn child’s heart begins to beat at approximately the sixth week of pregnancy.

The Allegation:

Chris Cuomo asked an abortionist to check the language used by the pro-life movement during the first hour of his September 2 show on CNN. “The idea of six weeks, heartbeat at six weeks, does that even exist in science? Is there a heart at six weeks?” he asked Texas abortionist Allison Gilbert of the Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center in Dallas.

Gilbert said, “There is most certainly not a fully-formed heart, at that gestational age; it’s more of an electric clicker that you can see on the screen, which we refer to [as] cardiac activity, rather than a heartbeat.”

Cuomo continued, “They call it the heartbeat bill, because the heartbeat pulls on your heartstrings, makes you think ‘Person — that’s what has a heartbeat.’”

In the second hour of his show — which substituted for the first hour of “Don Lemon Tonight” — Cuomo asked abortion activist Anna Rupani to characterize the reason Texas lawmakers use the term heartbeat. “Heartbeat is a play, right?” Cuomo asked. “They want to say heartbeat, because it makes it sound like it’s a person at six weeks, right? That’s why it has a heartbeat, as opposed to cardiac activity, which is a big difference, because there is no fully-formed organ there, because the thing is the size of a kidney bean!”

Chris Cuomo accused Texas lawmakers of doctoring language to further their political agenda. He previously asserted that bills that protect unborn children from abortion are about “legislating to the far-Right, white-fright vote.” But Cuomo seemingly admitted political motivations drove his own word choice. “I got to be honest, I don’t like describing you as ‘a doctor who does abortions,’” he said. Abortion is “supposed to be just another procedure.” He later added, “You do a lot of things. That is one thing that you do. … I just didn’t want to limit you, and try to play to some faux controversy.”

The Facts:

Cuomo and his guest claimed that the human heart is not fully formed at six weeks’ development, and only electronic pulses known as “cardiac activity” are present. While the leading authorities agree that the embryonic heart begins as a tube and eventually develops the four-chambered heart during gestational week seven, scientific authorities refer to the developing organ as a heart and the pulses as a “heartbeat.”

The Mayo Clinic notes that fetal “[g]rowth is rapid” in the sixth week of pregnancy, “[j]ust four weeks after conception.”

“The heart and other organs also are starting to form and the heart begins to beat,” the Mayo Clinic states.

During week five, “Your baby’s heart and a primitive circulatory system will form in the middle layer of cells — the mesoderm. This layer of cells will also serve as the foundation for your baby’s bones, ligaments, kidneys and much of the reproductive system.”

Although the Mayo Clinic is an exceptional clinic, it is no exception when it comes to affirming the reality of a fetal heartbeat at six weeks’ gestation.

“At about 6 weeks, your baby’s heart beat [sic] can usually be detected,” according to The Cleveland Clinic. While the groundbreaking medical facility put “heart” inside quotation marks when discussing the organ’s development at four weeks’ gestation — noting, “The tiny ‘heart’ tube will beat 65 times a minute by the end of the fourth week” — it did no such thing when writing of fetal heart development at six weeks, nor again at the beginning of month four, when it notes, “Your baby’s heartbeat may now be audible through an instrument called a doppler.”

Although not an authority on science, NPR reported (at your expense), “Usually, heartbeat can be detected by vaginal ultrasound somewhere between 6 ½ – 7 weeks. The heartbeat may have started around six weeks, although some sources place it even earlier, at around 3 – 4 weeks after conception.”

Nor is this language confined merely to popular online websites designed for mass consumption. Medical textbooks and journals also state that a fetal or embryonic heartbeat begins at approximately the 21st day of development:

  • “The human heart is the first functional organ to develop. It begins beating and pumping blood around day 21 or 22, a mere three weeks after fertilization. … It originates about day 18 or 19 from the mesoderm and begins beating and pumping blood about day 21 or 22,” according to Anatomy and Physiology by Lindsay M. Biga, a textbook used at Oregon State University (chapter 19.5).
  • “The heart begins to beat on day 21 or 22. … The embryonic heartbeat can be detected … during the fourth week, approximately 6 weeks after the last normal menstrual period,” according to Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects by Keith L. Moore, T. V. N. Persaud, and Mark G. Torchia (p. 45).
  • “The human heart is one of the first organs to form and function during embryogenesis. By the end of gestational week 3… the fetal heart becomes vital for oxygen and nutrient distribution. The initiation of the first heart beat via the primitive heart tube begins at gestational day 22, followed by active fetal blood circulation by the end of week 4,” according to a review article in the peer-reviewed journal Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy written by Cheryl Mei Jun Tan and Adam James Lewandowski.
  • During the fourth week of development (or the sixth week after the previous menstrual cycle), the “[h]eart is beating,” according to the most recent edition of the textbook The Human Body in Health and Illness by Barbara Herlihy (p. 522).

The Verdict:

Former abortionist Carol Everett once described how abortion providers use semantic issues of science to promote abortion to young children. “You have to become the experts in their lives, and you have to separate them from their parents and their values,” she said.

The embryonic heart begins to form in an unborn child, creating activity that scientific authorities refer to as a “heartbeat.” It is hardly unscientific for pro-life advocates to follow their example.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Chris Cuomo Suggests Babies Don’t Have A ‘Heartbeat’ At 6 Weeks. Here’s What Science Says