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AZ Legislature Passes “Pregnancy Begins 2 Weeks Before Conception” Bill

by David Badash on April 11, 2012

in Bigotry Watch,Civil Rights,Discrimination,News,Politics

Post image for AZ Legislature Passes “Pregnancy Begins 2 Weeks Before Conception” Bill

Arizona‘s Legislature yesterday afternoon passed three harsh anti-abortion bills, including one that defines pregnancy as being two weeks before conception. Known in some circles as the “egg drop” bill, lawmakers apparently believe they are more knowledgable than physicians at determining gestational age. The attempt to redefine pregnancy of course is to reduce the legal window of when a woman may have an abortion. Arizona Republican “pro-life” Governor Jan Brewer would not comment on her intent to sign or veto the bill.

UPDATE: ‘Pregnancy Begins 2 Weeks Before Conception’ Now The Law In Arizona

“State Rep. Kimberly Yee (R-Phoenix), the bill’s sponsor, was not immediately available for comment. Her assistant said that Yee, a former aide to former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), was voting on the House floor,” The Huffington Post reports:

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.

Elizabeth Nash, states issues manager for Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research organization in Washington, said the definition corresponds with how doctors typically determine gestational age. She said since the exact date of conception cannot be pinpointed, doctors use the day of the woman’s last menstrual period to gauge the duration of a pregnancy. The method does not provide an exact date.

“It will have some impact, from what we understand there are abortions provided at that point in Arizona,” Nash said. “It will reduce access.”

The Huffington Post also notes:

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.

Discussion via MSNBC:

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eroissyfr April 11, 2012 at 6:31 pm

And? Just means that woman in AZ will lie about when their last period was..Why oh Why do these states continue to try to dictate health concerns and the rights of a woman to control her body? These bills will not pass muster on a federal level and the taxpayers of yet another state will have their money wasted in the courtrooms. I think AZ has much bigger problems they need to be spending money and time on.

Ginger_Voight April 12, 2012 at 1:05 am

Medical professionals determine gestational age by the first day of the last menstrual period, this is nothing new. Any woman who has been pregnant and had her due date calculated knows this. Whether you're in Texas or in Arizona or California, how far along you are is determined by that magic date roughly two weeks prior to conception, for the reasons stated in the article. The only way this would really concern me is if it moved the availability of abortion to an unreasonable standard, such as prior to 6 weeks. By 18 weeks (or 4 months past conception) I don't see this as the harsh anti-choice bill others seem to think it is. We're getting into the realm of late-term abortion which has always been a gray area for both sides where we're going to have to give some ground. It can't be all or nothing for either side, period. Articles like these work against the cause because they detract away from more important issues. Things like "The third bill requires that schools teach students that adoption and birth are the most acceptable outcomes for an unwanted pregnancy" are much more concerning and deserve more focus than a footnote, in my opinion.

desert_grrl April 12, 2012 at 3:36 pm

The AZ bill does NOT say life starts before conception. It merely defines “gestational age” as dated from the woman’s last menstrual period (which is typically 2 weeks before conception), which is exactly how the entire US medical profession defines it.

HuffPo has this wrong, and reposting it as fact just perpetuates this straw man, which obscures all the outrageous things this bill actually does. Please correct your facts and leave the “truthiness” to the right. We have enough to be concerned about without wasting outrage on things that did not actually happen.

katieesu April 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Agree with those above. This legislation simply complies with the way doctors calculate due dates. Not new information.

katieesu April 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I should say I agree with Ginger_Voight above. She is completely correct.

deciusbrutus April 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm

The issue isn't defining gestational age by menses. The issue is making '18 weeks' mean '16 weeks'.

aven916 April 25, 2012 at 1:46 pm

So each month when I have my period, should I be charged with manslaughter or abandoning my unborn child?

Burnaby Lawyers May 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, enshrines "the equal rights of men and women", and addressed both the equality and equity issues

andy_ti August 25, 2012 at 1:35 am

Anyone who reads the bill at… and searches for the definition of pregnancy would see that this law defines pregnancy as: "means a female reproductive condition of having a developing unborn child in the body and that begins with conception." If you want the law's definition of conception: "'Conception' means the fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum." So how exactly did they redefine pregnancy as beginning two weeks before conception? Oh because they included the definition of Gestational Age? Take a look at NY S2844-2011 (introduced by a democrat and supported by Planned Parenthood). It includes the definition of Gestational age: "MEANS THE TIME THAT HAS ELAPSED SINCE THE FIRST DAY OF THE PREGNANT FEMALE'S LAST MENSTRUAL PERIOD." Its the same language used in the Arizona law.

cctunes August 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm

So the powers that be are right on track. The Rockefeller Foundation *really* funds the Women's Lib movement in the 60s to get the other half of the populace to pay taxes and break up the traditional family unit so kids start to look to the school/gov't/state to be their family, and now we've got: "The third bill requires that schools teach students that adoption and birth are the most acceptable outcomes for an unwanted pregnancy". The whole thing is outrageous. Equal rights my arse. I am astounded at the arrogance and self-righteousness of these people in power. They should all be run out on a rail.

Mikko August 27, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Dump the child at the church door

mandythepcgirl August 29, 2012 at 10:43 am

I really don't know what you are all on about. Here in Australia, abortions after 12 weeks is only allowed under special circumstances. Babies have a relative chance at actually living at 20 weeks, which is waaaaayyy too late.

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