Salt Lake County Council member tells Kamala Harris fetuses are not part of women’s bodies

Republican Dave Alvord faces social media backlash after tweeting at the vice president.

Salt Lake County Council member Dave Alvord says fetuses are not part of a mother’s body because the umbilical cord and placenta do not connect directly to the woman.

That isn’t true, but Alvord is standing by his comments in the wake of the social media pile-on he’s faced after airing those views on Twitter, in response to a tweet by Vice President Kamala Harris.

Asked Wednesday about where Alvord got his information, whether he stands by the comments, the backlash he’s faced online — and what he thinks about one abortion-access advocate calling his tweet “seriously uninformed,” the Republican council member declined to respond.

“It appears this is a story about social media, so it seems more appropriate we leave it there,” Alvord said in a text message. “I’ll tweet a response on Twitter. Thanks for your consideration and allowing me the chance to respond.”

Alvord made the initial comment Saturday morning in response to a tweet from Harris saying women should be able to make decisions about their own bodies without interference from the government.

“The baby is not part of the body of a woman,” Alvord responded in a tweet. “The umbilical cord 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.”

The placenta develops in and attaches to the walls of the uterus during pregnancy, providing oxygen and nutrients to fetuses. The umbilical cord connects the baby to the placenta. Babies do not “float” inside mothers.

The former South Jordan mayor appeared to stand by his comments Tuesday night, responding online to another Twitter user that “the placenta does not, technically, belong to the mother,” along with a link to an Insider.com story about the organ.

Alvord’s original tweet went ignored for days, but drew social media scrutiny after it was shared by Salt Lake Tribune columnist Robert Gehrke and Tribune reporter Bryan Schott.

In a string of tweets Wednesday afternoon, Alvord forcefully defended by his comments.

“A few days ago, I responded to a tweet from Kamala Harris which contained the false narrative that abortion *only* involves the body of the mother. Since then, a few members of the media have asked for additional comments.

“Their questions seem to be missing the point. 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.

“Abortion involves the body of more than one human life. I stand by the tweet.”

Karrie Galloway, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, criticized the council member for his comments.

“Dave Alvord’s seriously uninformed comment is a perfect example of why sex education is vital, and clearly lacking in Utah,” she said in a statement, “and why it is critical that politicians stay out of personal medical decisions.”

Alvord has yet to respond to Galloway’s remarks.