Wait. What? I must be reading this wrong. The “Women’s Health and Safety Act,” signed into law yesterday by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, and referred to by some as “the egg drop bill,” defines pregnancy as beginning two weeks before conception, as it calculates the gestational age starting with the first day of the last menstrual period. The goal of this extreme law, of course, is to reduce the legal window of when a woman may have an abortion.
“Current law allows abortions up until the point of viability, when a fetus could reasonably survive on its own outside the womb,” writes the Tucson Citizen. “That’s considered by many medical experts and abortion clinics to be from 22 to 24 weeks.” But that is based on the gestational age starting with conception; generally, women ovulate/conceive two weeks after the start of their last period. By defining pregnancy as starting two weeks before conception, Arizona’s new law bans abortion two weeks before the other seven states with similar laws.
In addition to completely screwing women who want to have abortions by further limiting the window in which they can legally have them, this law presents a huge problem for women who would continue their pregnancies to term — provided the fetus is healthy. According to the Tuscon Citizen, “During the hearings on the bill, doctors said many women don’t discover their fetus has a severe or life-threatening problem until an ultrasound at about the 20th week. The doctors — and several women who had faced this issue — testified that this law would arbitrarily cut off the right for these women to have an abortion.”
But the craziest thing about this new law? The fact that it defines women as pregnant before they have even conceived. In effect, if you menstruate, Arizona law considers your eggs fertilized before they even are. Under this law, the women of Arizona are essentially in a perpetual state of pregnancy. When did we wake up inside the pages of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale?
And and and! This “Women’s Health and Safety Act” was actually sponsored by a woman, Arizona State Rep. Kimberly Yee, whose hair I would really like to pull right about now. You can read more about the rest of the fuckery contained within what Planned Parenthood is calling the country’s “most extreme piece of anti-abortion legislation,” at the links.