Aug 11, 2022 - Politics

Salt Lake City OB-GYN refutes council member's floating baby claims

A screenshot of a tweet by Salt Lake Council member David Alvord.
A screenshot via Twitter.

Salt Lake County Council member Dave Alvord is facing backlash on Twitter over inaccurate medical claims he posted in regard to how fetuses are developed in the womb.

Background: Alvord, a Republican who served as mayor of South Jordan, said babies are not part of women's bodies and claimed umbilical cords and placentas do not connect to women.

  • "The baby floats inside the woman. It is not about the woman's body, it's to kill then remove the baby's body. It is done in greater proportion to black babies," he said in the tweet Aug. 6.
  • The tweet was in response to Vice President Kamala Harris' post saying women could make their own choices about abortion without government intervention.
  • By Thursday, Alvord's post had received over 400 retweets, with the majority scrutinizing him.

Reality check: "Obviously, this is inaccurate, and it's not how pregnancy develops," said Dr. Lori Gawron, an OB-GYN in Salt Lake City.

  • If a placenta is not attached to a mother, that would be called placental abruption, a medical emergency that would result in the immediate death of the fetus, she said.
  • The placenta, which is attached to the walls of the uterus, connects to the fetus through the umbilical cord.
  • "This is an area where I just wish … our policymakers would be much more humble in their statements and acknowledge that this is outside of their knowledge and seek guidance from people that have spent their lives studying aspects of human reproduction and sexual health," she said.

Of note: The extent of Alvord's medical training is unclear. His professional biography on the Salt Lake County website says he "practiced dentistry for 16 years."

The latest: While Alvord did not respond to Axios' request for comment, he tweeted on Wednesday to say he stood by his original post.

  • "My tweet was not a biology lesson but was intended to simply point out that a baby, the umbilical cord, and the placenta are part of a new and developing body, with its own unique DNA and gender, separate from the mother."
  • Alvord then shared links to articles from Insider and Wikipedia in an attempt to support his claims.
  • A spokesperson for Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson did not respond immediately to a request for comment on Alvord's tweets.

Background: This isn't the first time Alvord makes bizarre statements on social media.

  • Last year, he claimed in a Facebook post that "the left won't be happy until we each have light brown skin," and "until there are no males, no females, and we each have the same muscle mass, brains, talents, and energy," The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
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