This divine tragedy is almost comedic.
In recent years, the Grand Canyon State has become one of the nation’s leaders in proposing and passing extremely conservative legislation that appears to target specific groups of people. One such example is SB 1070 in 2010, which targets Hispanics. Arizona’s newest slam-dunk is what publications are referring to as the most “draconian” anti-abortion law in years.
HB 2036, among other things, dictates that conception begins at the first day of a woman’s last menstrual cycle prior to pregnancy…which means a woman is legally considered pregnant two weeks before she can physically conceive. If you remember from high school biology, women can only conceive after an egg has been released. This occurs during what is called ‘ovulation.’ According to the American Pregnancy Association, “for women who have a 28 to 32 day menstrual cycle, ovulation can take place between days 11 through 21. Remember this is just an average of days that ovulation could take place—every woman’s cycle is different.” http://www.americanpregnancy.org/gettingpregnant/ovulationcalendar.html
But Jan Brewer agrees with conservative state senators and representatives; a woman is legally pregnant two full weeks before she even releases her egg. Arizona women are already pregnant. Pause for reaction.
I’m not a doctor, but as far as I’m concerned, “conception” means the act of an egg and sperm joining. This means our eggs, sitting patiently in our ovaries for us to use them, half a batch of chromosomes and completely nonviable on their own, are zygotes, and therefore unborn children. Which begs the question – by having ours period and ultimately rejecting an unfertilized egg, which is now apparently a human being, are we committing manslaughter?
After all: “Manslaughter: unlawful killing of one human being (here defined as my unfertilized egg) by another.”
Therefore, women in Arizona are already pregnant, and since we menstruate every month, are also potentially murderers, even if we don’t have a fetus to abort(!).
The idea that a woman is pregnant at the first day of her last menstrual cycle is not only insanely restrictive, but also just wrong. Menstruating is a universally recognized sign that a woman is not pregnant (“Got my period! I’m not pregnant!”). The two weeks before the menstrual cycle begins, ovulation, is when a woman can become pregnant, and even licensed physicians are hesitant to pinpoint an exact point in the ovulation cycle where life begins as it varies with the individual (see above).
The idea behind this bill is to further limit the time frame and situational context in which a woman can have an abortion. If abortions are extremely restricted and women are brainwashed, abortion can disappear from the conservative radar altogether. Currently the cutoff time for a legal abortion is roughly twenty weeks from the date of conception, but this new law effectively restricts the time to eighteen weeks. This new, shorter window of time is further restricted by several addendums to this law that read as follows:
• Medication abortions (by pill), usually done at home or a clinic within the first nine weeks of pregnancy, must now be done by a medical provider who has hospital privileges within 30 miles of where the procedure takes place. The law also mandates outdated protocol that Nash says may cause confusion. The provision is an attempt to shut down medication abortions altogether. North Dakota and Oklahoma are in litigation over similar provisions in their laws.
• Sex education is not mandated in Arizona, but any such education must now prioritize birth and adoption.
• Health-care facilities must put up signs warning against abortion “coercion.”
• The state health department must set up a website focusing on alternatives to abortion and displaying photos of fetuses.
• “Counseling” is required for women aiming seeking abortions because of fetal abnormalities. Such counseling must include prenatal hospice information.
• Previous requirements are reiterated for a notarized parental consent form for minors and a mandatory ultrasound screening 24 hours before having an abortion.
[Blades, Meteor. (April 13, 2010). Jan Brewer signs ‘life begins at menstruation’ bill, the most draconian anti-abortion bill so far. The Daily Kos, 1083067. Retrieved from
More links below to details on the new legislation.
“Sanity is a valuable possession. I save it, so I will have enough, when the time comes.” -Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale