Politics

‘This Is Science’: Doctor Slams Stacey Abrams Over Fetal Heartbeat Comments

Screenshot/Twitter/Grazie Christie, M.D.

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Laurel Duggan Social Issues and Culture Reporter
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Dr. Grazie Christie, M.D., a radiologist who works with pregnant women, criticized Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams over her Tuesday comments denying that fetal heartbeats can be detected at six weeks.

Abrams said there was no such thing as a heartbeat at six weeks and argued the state should repeal its heartbeat law restricting most abortions after 6 weeks at a Tuesday event in Georgia. Christie denied those claims and said she has detected fetal heartbeats as young as five weeks in a video discussing her radiology work.

“Stacey Abrams is wrong,” she said. “This is not just a manufactured thing, this is science. It’s called the science of doppler signals; it has to do with sound waves. It’s all very complicated but very beautiful.” (RELATED: Mental Health Issues Leading Cause Of Pregnancy-Related Deaths, Study Finds)

Abrams had invoked sexism when challenging the concept of fetal heartbeats.

“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,” she said.

Christie noted that, as both a woman and as a doctor, she believed Abrams was wrong.

“What we are hearing is the doppler signal of blood flowing in one direction and then the other, and that’s what we see when we put our cursor over the embryonic heart. We can see the blood flow … we can watch the valves flutter and we can watch the walls of the heart also move as the baby’s heart beats,” she said. “Interestingly, the fetal heart rate is much faster than mom’s; that’s how we know we’ve found the baby’s heartbeat.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine says the fetal heart is beating by four weeks and the American Pregnancy Association says the fetal heartbeat can be detected by ultrasound by 5.5- 6.5 weeks. Planned Parenthood’s website said “a very basic beating heart and circulatory system develop” by 5-6 weeks, according to an archived webpage, but the organization has altered its website since July 25 to say it merely sounds like the heart is beating.

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