Arizona legislature thinks they haven’t been unreasonable enough yet in their state apparently
Published: 05 April, 2012, 23:35
A new bill up for vote in the state of Arizona would ban abortions for some expectant mothers, but that’s only the start of what lawmakers have in store. If the legislation passes, the state will consider a child to exist even before conception.
Under Arizona’s H.B. 2036, the state would recognize the start of the unborn child’s life to be the first day of its mother’s last menstrual period. The legislation is being proposed so that lawmakers can outlaw abortions on fetuses past the age of 20-weeks, but the verbiage its authors use to construct a time cycle for the baby would mean that the start of the child’s life could very well occur up to two weeks before the mother and father even ponder procreating.
On page eight of the proposed amendment to H.B. 2036, lawmakers lay out the “gestational age” of the child to be “calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman,” and from there, outlaws abortion “if the probable gestational age of [the] unborn child has been determined to be at least twenty weeks.”
The architects of the amendment say that prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks — except in cases of medical emergency — is necessary for the safety of both mother and child. By designating a life to begin weeks before even possible, however, some critics are condemning Arizona lawmakers for looking for a way to involve itself in abortion matters before it can even become an issue.
“Certainly, they are trying move the gestational cutoff from what had been over the last two years a 20-week gestational cutoff to an 18-week gestational cutoff,” Guttmacher Institute’s State Issues Manager Elizabeth Nash tells Raw Story. “At the same time, they are trying to say, ‘Oh, this is a 20-week abortion ban.’ And they get away with that with the definition of gestational age that’s in the bill.”
“Considering that it’s anti-choice nuts we’re talking about, it’s safe to assume that they’d simply prefer a situation where all women of reproductive age are considered to be pregnant, on the grounds that they could be two weeks from now,” RH Reality Check’s Amanda Marcotte adds in a recently-penned editorial. “Better safe than sorry, especially if that mentality means you get to exert maximum control over the bodies of women of reproductive age.”
In extending her support for the legislation, however, sponsor Nancy Barto, a Republican senator representing the Phoenix, Arizona area says that fetuses are able to feel pain after the 20-week mark. Also favoring the proposal, Senator Steve Smith (R-Maricopa) adds that lawmakers also need to consider “the 50 million-plus children who have been killed” since the US Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v Wade.
“I would like to listen to the 50 million-plus children that have been aborted and killed since Roe v. Wade,” the senator says. “I would like to listen to what they think of this bill.”
Mother Jones adds in their own reporting, however, that while the law could be explained as an effort to deter complications that come from late-term abortions, opening up the window for the gestational age to begin before conception can hurt the parents in the long run. Essentially the act would outlaw abortion after 18 weeks, not 20 as the legislation claims, which could keep some concerned parents from making a decision about pregnancy before some medical procedures that gauge the health of the child are able to be determined. While some tests can be conducted soon after conception to catch potential life-threatening conditions and other impairments, outlawing abortions after the eighteenth week could keep parents from opting for abortion after other tests can be carried out (before the 20-week mark).
H.B. 2036 passed in the Arizona Senator by 20-to-10 and will soon go before the state’s House. To Raw Story, Elizabeth Nash says she believes the bill has a “very good chances of passage.”
i don’t want to live on this earth anymore
So now the IDEA of a fetus is more important than women and their right to bodily autonomy.
Good to know, Arizona.
So people with uteruses still ain’t people but ~possible~ fetuses are?
I need to point out a significant oversight in the article:
Not everyone gets their periods on a nice regular 28-to-30-day cycle.
Whether because their cycle is naturally irregular, or regular but usually longer than four weeks, or because they’re in their first few or last few years of menstruating, or (GASP) because they’ve had a medical procedure or are using a form of birth control that causes them to have periods only a few times a year…? Under this proposed legislation, hundreds of women (and other menstruation-capable people) in Arizona would be considered to be past the “20-week” point — and thus denied the opportunity to abort their pregnancy — before the intercourse that would eventually impregnate them even happened.
This isn’t some rare freak thing that would affect only a tiny number of people who probably wouldn’t want to terminate their pregnancies anyway. I know at least one person in each of the demographics that would potentially be affected, and you probably do, too.
[TW for mention of sexual assault in the following paragraph]
We’re talking about some of the groups at highest risk for pregnancy complications:
• tweens as young as nine years old (in rare cases even younger);
• and peri-menopausal people, who also have a much higher risk of a child they conceive at that age having birth defects.
Kids that young shouldn’t be having sex, you say? Well, I agree, but the problem is convincing the men who rape thousands of children under the age of thirteen every year in the United States alone. (Alternately, we could lock all the child predators up, but that’s difficult when victims are still so likely not to be believed, not to mention the dismal conviction rate in cases where there’s even enough evidence to go to trial.) All of which is not to say that someone in their “prime childbearing years” who happens to have a nice regular 80-day menstrual cycle should have the decision about whether or not to bear a child taken out of their hands, either.
Since it came up, though, let me take this opportunity to point out some basic biology to Nancy Barto and anyone who thinks she has a good point about how “fetuses can feel pain” at whatever point in their development. Frogs can feel pain. Maggots can feel pain. Microscopic single-celled organisms called paramecia (singular paramecium) can feel pain, something most Americans my age know because we were made to torment the poor things in middle-school biology class so we could observe their pain responses. We do not accord personhood to pests or squishy-slimy critters or things that are invisible to the naked eye.
Anencephalic humans respond to pain, too, but anyone with both sense and compassion would recognize that it’s easier on everyone — the unborn being with anencephaly included — if such pregnancies were terminated early enough to minimize the suffering of the fetus and family alike. A fetus with anencephaly has a beating heart, another feature the so-called “pro-life” crusaders like to draw attention to as if the heart were the physical location of the soul; some teratomas have beating hearts, too; but treating either as a human being with the same rights as the person in whose body they’re found goes beyond merely inaccurate or even irrational to insane.
(Oh, and I managed to avoid using cissexist language to talk about people with female reproductive anatomy and how they’d be affected by this ludicrous bill. Did you notice? It really wasn’t that difficult… you should give it a try.)
Great image with links to resources for male,female and intersex genital integrity…
For more current ISNA information visit: http://www.accordalliance.org/ (There is a note on the ISNA homepage that they have replaced themselves with Accord Alliance.)
I could not be any more behind everything to do with Genital Integrity Awareness Week without literally putting that info on the front of my body.
Hm. Wonder if my local copy-shop can print those desktop-publishing iron-on decal patches?
Reblog (of a stupid question answered brilliantly): “What if the baby you abort could have cured cancer?”
What if the trans* person beaten to death could have cured cancer?
What if the gay teen who committed suicide from bullying could have cured cancer?
What if that young girl sold into the sex trade and died from untreated STIs could have cured cancer?
What if one of those hundreds of thousands of civilians that have been killed in the war could have cured cancer?
What if that African-Canadian woman who was raped and later died from internal complications could have cured cancer?
What if all the people on the planet how can’t afford to go to post-secondary education, and will live and die in poverty could have cured cancer?
What if the woman who died giving birth to the baby she didn’t want could have cured cancer?
What if, instead of putting all of our resources into worrying about that abortion, we just work on that cancer? Maybe we could fucking cure cancer ourselves if we actually put the resources into it. For that matter, what if instead of blaming gays for the AIDS epidemic, we put some fucking money into HIV and AIDS research and for once in the history of this country actually WORKED ON THE PROBLEM instead of throwing around blame and excuses.
A Celebration of Choice
I celebrate women who choose to become mothers, because I am pro-choice.
And I’m completely okay with women choosing to become mothers even if they don’t fit the traditional stereotypes of what mothers “should” look like. It’s true that the world is dangerously overpopulated with humans, and getting more so on a daily basis… Just the same, the joy women who have chosen to be mothers often exude is one of those things I never seem able not to smile at.
None of which should be taken as a slight against either women who choose never to conceive, or women who never conceive despite trying to do so, or women who conceive but miscarry, or women who choose to end a pregnancy — for any reason. Because I am pro-choice, I support all those women’s choices, and their right to make those choices for themselves.