Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A politician seemingly lacking in basic science literacy is spreading falsehoods about female biology on social media.
The award thistime goes to David Alvord, a council member in Salt Lake County, Utah, who doesn’t think women should make decisions about their own reproductive healthcare because “the baby is not part of the body of the woman.”
Alvord made the claim in response to a tweet from Vice President Kamala Harris last week in which she made no explicit mention of abortion, yet reaffirmed her trust in “the judgement of the women of America” to make decisions about their bodies.
Alvord took umbrage ― then tweeted a bunch of nonsense about umbilical cords.
“The baby is not part of the body of a woman,” Alvord tweeted in response. “The umbilical chord [sic] and placenta do not directly connect to the woman.”
“The baby floats inside the woman,” he continued. “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.”
The baby is not part of the body of a woman. The umbilical chord and placenta do not directly connect to the woman. 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.
— Dave Alvord (@DaveAlvord) August 6, 2022
As people piled onto the wildly inaccurate claim, Alvord dug in while also ever so slightly moving the goalposts:
“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,” he wrote.
“For everyone dunking on me on a baby being part of mother, you may want to keep reading,” he added, pointing to a simplified Wikipedia entry about the placenta and the potential for bad outcomes “if the mother’s and fetus’s blood mixed.”
For everyone dunking on me on a baby being part of mother, you may want to keep reading:
“If the mother's and fetus's blood mixed, it could be deadly for both of them. If the mother and the fetus had different blood types, they might both die if their blood mixed.”
— Dave Alvord (@DaveAlvord) August 11, 2022
That, too, was inaccurate.
Dr. Jennifer Gunter, an OB/GYN and the author of “The Vagina Bible,” responded with some instructional materials.
“So yeah, Dave. Fetal blood does mix with maternal,” the doctor added. “That’s why we give RhIg and this is even the basis for some genetic testing. You are a dipshit.”
— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) August 11, 2022
A spokesperson for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) was also quick to dispute Alvord’s claims, noting that the pregnant person and the fetus are not at all separate and are, in fact, very tightly interlinked.
In an emailed statement to HuffPost, Christopher M. Zahn, MD, ACOG’s chief of clinical practice and interim chief of health equity and quality, called Alvord’s assertion that fetuses aren’t attached to the body “false” and “not grounded in science.”
“The spread of medical misinformation, myths and fallacies is harmful for patients,” Zahn said. “People seeking information about their health online should refer only to reliable sources. Just because information is online or on social media doesn’t mean that it is true, or based on any reliable medical evidence.”
“It is a sad reality that some people intentionally disseminate false information or simply decide to share unproven medical allegations without confirming the truth.”
According to his biography, Alvord practiced dentistry for 16 years. Now he oversees a dental malpractice insurance company.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.