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Arizona Legislature Declares: Pregnancy Begins Before Conception

Sperm doing their thing (photo by ALAMY)

Arizona’s legislature has decided that an egg and a sperm do not have to meet for life to begin. In fact, a new bill defines pregnancy has happening two weeks before conception. Does this mean that every time a woman naturally gets rid of an egg via menstruation that she is, effectively, terminating a pregnancy?

Apparently, this is an attempt to limit the window in which women can have an abortion. The Huffington Post reported that:

State Rep. Matt Heinz (D-Tucson), a physician, said he did not want the state to set the gestational age since science could not provide a precise one. “I imagine it will be a legal dispute. How can a judge determine gestational age?” Heinz said. “If medical science can only determine gestational age to within 10-14 days, how can a superior court judge do it?”

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill to prohibit abortions after the 18th week of pregnancy; a bill to protect doctors from being sued if they withhold health information about a pregnancy that could cause a woman to seek an abortion; and a bill to mandate that how school curriculums address the topic of unwanted pregnancies.

The 18th week bill includes a new definition for when pregnancy begins. All of the bills passed the Senate and now head to Gov. Jan Brewer (R) for her signature or veto. Passage of the late-term abortion bill would give Arizona the earliest definition of late-term abortion in the country; most states use 20 weeks as a definition.

A sentence in the bill defines gestational age as “calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman,” which would move the beginning of a pregnancy up two weeks prior to conception.

. . .

The other two bills passed by the House include the state’s “wrongful birth, wrongful life” bill that prohibits lawsuits against doctors who do not provide information about a fetus’ health if that information could lead to an abortion. In addition, parents cannot sue on the child’s behalf after birth.

The third bill requires that schools teach students that adoption and birth are the most acceptable outcomes for an unwanted pregnancy.

The Republican assault on women’s rights continues. This is not a surprise, really. Like it or not, the Republicans are out to do what they can to push women back into the era of being barefoot and pregnant. The new definition of gestational age begins at the last day upon which a woman menstruates, which is how doctors determine when women become pregnant; however, that date is always within two weeks and not necessarily accurate.

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6 Responses to Arizona Legislature Declares: Pregnancy Begins Before Conception

  1. Maren

    April 11, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    This is amazing to me….

  2. adamas

    April 11, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    And lest we forget. The doctor can choose to NOT tell the mother that the child would not survive to term, survive birth, live long after birth, or have physical problem so severe that a normal and productive life would be impossible, or that attempting to carry the fetus to term could kill BOTH mother and child, And NOT be sued!

    Sound like someone likes filling graveyards?

  3. Michelle

    April 11, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    What about women whose menstruation is not and has never been ‘regular’? I can see wanting to narrow the window for abortions, but to define a conception date that even science has declared indeterminate just smacks of hubris. I seriously hope that Gov. Brewer vetoes the bill.

    • adamas

      April 11, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      It could also be used to attempt to make birth control illegal since the “Pill” and other hormone-based methods alter the Cycle.

  4. Anthony

    April 11, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    “The third bill requires that schools teach students that adoption and birth are the most acceptable outcomes for an unwanted pregnancy.”
    Acceptable by whose standards? This is just ridiculous. In a nation that is hemorrhaging money, this is what those morons want to waste their time on? Why not concentrate on getting the country back on track economically and getting our Marxist-in-Chief out of the White House?

    • adamas

      April 11, 2012 at 7:51 pm

      You know, you took a good argument, and totally ruined it by bringing in something that has absolutely nothing to do with the story.