When multiple readers pointed out the many flagrant falsehoods in the story, the Atlantic issued a formal retraction of its statement that there is “no heart to speak of” in a six-week old fetus. In addition, the original subtitle (“The technology has been used to create an ‘imaginary’ heartbeat and sped-up videos that falsely depict a response to stimulus.”) was changed without comment. It also silently removed other embarrassing errors in the piece, such as calling John Kasich the governor of Indiana.
As Thomas Williams, PhD points out,
Even the amended piece contains outright lies, taking the Atlantic’s “fake news” to a whole new level.
Weigel makes the ludicrous claim that ultrasound “made it possible for the male doctor to evaluate the fetus without female interference.” According to a 2015 study, women make up an impressive 85 percent of all residents in obstetrics and gynecology in the graduate medical education class of 2013-2014. This means that the vast majority of doctors wielding ultrasounds are women, not men.
Ultrasounds are not a weapon of the patriarchy, but an important scientific tool used more often by women than by men.
Weigel also claims that “science” attributes no meaning to an ultrasound image, and thus pregnant women who see an ultrasound will not recognize this meaning. The inference is that pregnant women should not see an ultrasound of their child, lest they mistakenly and “unscientifically” attribute some meaning to it (for example, the sex of their baby?).
“The origins of fetal ultrasound lie in stealth warfare,” Weigel ominously declares, and “opponents of abortion enlisted it in their cause. It became an article of faith that women would respond to seeing ultrasound images by ‘recognizing’ that the fetus gestating inside them was a ‘baby’—and, by extension, that abortion would be murder.”
Weigel’s solution? Keep women in the dark. If you don’t like the message, kill the messenger.