Baby Olivia Represents All Children in the Womb

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Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action, released the following statement in response to the pro-abortion hit piece published today in the Associated Press (AP) under the guise of objective journalism:

It is disappointing that the Associated Press seems determined to challenge the fact that human beings in the womb are human beings. Unfortunately, their pro-abortion bias has gotten in the way of objective journalism.  Every student in our nation should have access to the facts about human development. It is tragic that basic facts about human biology are so controversial for abortion supporters in 2024. 

Unfortunately, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), has become a highly politicized organization that, despite the disagreement of thousands of its members, advocates for abortion on demand. 

It is also telling that the only medical expert the AP could find who would go on record for the piece criticizing Baby Olivia is the co-founder of a pro-abortion activist group in Iowa. This fact itself was disguised by the AP when they referred to her affiliation as the leader of a “reproductive rights” group instead of disclosing the group’s main objective, which is opposing all abortion restrictions. 

ACOG Is Pro-Abortion

The Associated Press quotes ACOG as saying: “[T]he video is anti-abortion misinformation ‘designed to manipulate the emotions of viewers.’” ACOG is publicly and stridently against every abortion restriction, including ones that most Americans, including its patients, support. ACOG is out of line with what the large majority of OBGYNs actually believe. It does not represent all OBGYNs on abortion and gestational development issues.

ACOG receives funding from several pro-abortion organizations, including Ibis Reproductive Health and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, both of which have financial ties to abortion pill manufacturer Danco Laboratories. ACOG has also received millions of dollars from the Buffett Foundation, which was one of the first investors in Danco.

ACOG’s abortion advocacy began shortly after its founding in 1951 by leaders involved with Planned Parenthood, the Population Council (which brought the abortion pill to the United States), and the American Eugenics Society. In 1968, ACOG’s leaders endorsed the decriminalization of abortion.

ACOG is anything but impartial about abortion.

Using Conceptual Age 

The Associated Press also references a letter written by “Iowa physicians and educators” as a source for two additional criticisms of Baby Olivia – namely, that the video’s method of gauging the age of the preborn child is flawed, and that its portrayal of Olivia’s heartbeat is inaccurate. Notably, however, no citation to the alleged letter is provided, making it impossible to confirm that it truly says what the AP claims. In contrast, Live Action has provided documentation for the scientific accuracy of Baby Olivia, including releasing a list of the medical experts that advised the project.

Regarding the criticism of Baby Olivia’s method of calculating preborn age, the AP states: “Iowa physicians and educators said in a letter to state lawmakers that by using weeks after fertilization, the video misleads viewers because the framing indicates milestones happen about two weeks earlier than is accurate.”

However, this criticism is itself inaccurate. Dating a child from the moment of fertilization, also known as “conceptual age,” reflects the chronological age of the child. As doctors Max Mongelli, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Sydney, and Jason O. Gardosi, Professor of Maternal and Perinatal Health at the University of Warwick, write in their 2021 medical journal article titled Evaluation of Gestation:

Gestational age (GA) refers to the length of pregnancy after the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP) and is usually expressed in weeks and days. This is also known as menstrual age. Conceptional age (CA) is the true fetal age and refers to the length of pregnancy from the time of conception.

Dating a pregnancy by using conceptual age, as Baby Olivia does, is the most scientifically and medically accurate method.

Cardiac Development 

Regarding its critique of the video’s portrayal of preborn cardiac development, the AP states: “The Iowa physicians and educators said references to fetal ‘heartbeat’ are widely disputed. At six weeks, the embryo isn’t yet a fetus and doesn’t have a heart.”

However, Baby Olivia never makes any claims regarding a “fetal heartbeat.” Rather, it specifically notes that Olivia isn’t a “fetus” until the beginning of the ninth week, and states: “At 3 weeks and 1 day, just 22 days after fertilization, Olivia’s heartbeat can be detected.” This is supported by multiple and diverse sources, including the Endowment for Human DevelopmentMerck Manuals, and VeryWell Family.

Additionally, in a 2020 study published in the journal Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy, Oxford-affiliated researchers Cheryl Mei Jun Tan and Adam James Lewandowski wrote:

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.

Humanity of the Preborn

The AP goes on to state: “The video also describes the animated figure’s motion and actions with words like ‘playing,’ ‘exploring,’ ‘sighing,’  and making ‘speaking movements.’ Those words assign human traits and properties to a fetus that are more sophisticated than medicine can prove[.]”

Lila Rose responded:

It is a fact that children in the womb are human beings; they will possess traits that are characteristic of their species. Live Action and the medical experts we collaborated with stand by the scientific accuracy of every aspect in Baby OliviaBaby Olivia is a medically accurate, animated glimpse of human life from the moment of fertilization. This story details her growth as she progresses from one developmental stage to the next in preparation for her continued life outside of the womb. Every student in America should have access to world-class educational materials on the science behind human development in the womb. 

Quotes of Support for Baby Olivia and Human Development Education in Schools 

Baby Olivia was created by Live Action in collaboration with a panel of medical doctors, including experts in embryonic and fetal development — Dr. David BolenderDr. Donna HarrisonDr. Tara Sander LeeDr. Katrina Furth; Dr. Michelle Cretella; and Dr. Jeffrey Barrows, DO, MA — who each endorsed the project.

Certified OB/GYN Kathi Aultman, MD, FACOG, said:

Olivia is a spectacular and medically accurate portrayal of the development of a baby girl within the womb. It is based on information from the Endowment for Human Development, a highly respected scientific source on embryology and fetal development. Olivia draws back the curtain on the womb giving us a realistic glimpse of the baby within. As a retired OB/GYN, I wish this had been available for my patients.

The Charlotte Lozier Institute, a scientific and medical research organization, said:

Olivia is the beautiful story – based on the latest scientific research – of a child’s beginnings in her mother’s womb, from conception until birth. The attention to detail and scientific accuracy of the developing child are astounding. Sharing this life journey should open the eyes of anyone who doubts that preborn babies are real human beings, just like you and me.

Dr. Jeffrey Barrows, DO, MA, of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations stated:

This video is an accurate and vivid portrayal of the intrauterine development of the baby. If I were still practicing obstetrics, I would be showing this to all of my pregnant patients.

Ryan N. Benn, Esq., Director of Policy at the Iowa Family Leader said:

We already require teaching human development. And if we are going to teach human development, the curriculum should begin at the beginning—when the human first starts to develop.  Our young people need this information. According to a Pew Research survey in 2022, 30 percent of young people ages 18 to 29 say abortion should be legal in all cases. Not some cases. ALL cases. If 30% of kids are leaving high school with that radical and barbaric view, we need to do a better job educating them. This bill simply informs students of the facts—that human development doesn’t start once a baby has been delivered—it starts 9 months before that. If people haven’t seen the Baby Olivia video, they should watch it! It’s very well done, it’s informative, and it demonstrates the humanity of babies in the womb.

Addia Wuchner registered nurse, and Executive Director at Kentucky Right to Life, said:

“In a world where science and technology continually push the boundaries of human understanding, it’s essential to celebrate the magnificence of biological processes, especially those surrounding human development. “Baby Olivia,” an animated portrayal of fetal development, stands as a beacon of biological education for all age groups, providing an understanding of gestational age and embryological milestones. Human development is an awe-inspiring journey, and today’s state-of-the-art technology are vital tools that provide a window into that world,” Wuchner continues. “With state-of-the-art technology, specialists can explore fetal anatomy, detect potential issues, and ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy journey, and well-being of both the mother and her unborn child. Baby Olivia embodies the spirit of scientific inquiry and ethical responsibility, fostering a deeper appreciation for the marvels of human life. Developed by Live Action, this animation offers students a captivating journey through fetal development, enhancing traditional classroom instruction.”

John Mize, Chief Executive Officer at Americans United for Life – America’s preeminent pro-life law and policy advocates – stated:

Students deserve the facts about human development as reviewed by doctors and medical experts who are not on the payroll of Planned Parenthood. Americans United for Life applauds those state lawmakers working to ensure students in their states have access to best-in-class educational materials on the amazing facts of human development in the womb. The facts of human development are what they are, and we owe young people those facts captured so well by Live Action’s Baby Olivia.

Author: Press Release


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