Heartbeat International is an organization which helps women in distress choose against abortion and carry their pregnancies to term. It provides information on the negative consequences of voluntary abortion, while also making clear that abortion is murder and certain not a “right.”
OpenDemocracy deployed undercover reporters pretending to be pregnant into Heartbeat facilities. While not giving more details of the methods of their inquiry, OpenDemocracy alleges that Heartbeat gives “disinformation” on the basis of statements attributed to volunteers at some of the organization’s many facilities (2,700 centers operating in over 60 countries and employing 81,000 individuals.)
But is OpenDemocracy’s allegation of “fake news” against Heartbeat International itself a case of “fake news”? The site doesn’t provide evidence for their claims as per the classic questions of journalism: who, what, where, why? There is no trace of answers to these questions in OpenDemocracy’s publication; thus their claims are impossible to verify.
In spite of this, some members of the European Parliament have responded to the reports by voicing protest against Heartbeat Int’l, claiming that they are violating human rights—all for trying to save lives!
Contrast this with the case of David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt in 2015, who were later convicted for having documented the selling of fetal body parts on the part of Planned Parenthood in California. Will OpenDemocracy face any similar legal consequences, having used the same tactics of undercover reporting against Heartbeat? Or could it be that the real crime isn’t such clandestine inquiry, but simply fighting abortion and contraception?
To date, we have seen outcry against Heartbeat from Brussels and Strasbourg by MPs Vera Tax, Hilde Vautmans, Sylvie Guillaume, Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield and Fred Matić. But there has been no reaction from other representatives: the “pro-life” politicians in the assemblies seem to have disappeared. There absence of a clear and sound voice in defense of life within the European institutions is indeed a worrying sign, and fostering an atmosphere of persecution against those who fight for the rights of the unborn.
While in Europe, between 2010 and 2014, 30% of pregnancies ended in an abortion, the World Health Organization still insists that the priority must be not to reduce abortions but make the practice “safe” and a cornerstone of “reproductive health.” The WHO also maintains that healthcare providers who maintain a conscientious objection against abortion and restrictive laws against abortion constitute, effectively, an attempt on a woman’s life. In other words, we are on the cusp of a society where those who act to save lives, like Heartbeat International, are by that very action liable to accusations of attempted murder and crimes against humanity.