Arizona's proposed ban on abortions past 20 weeks' gestation comes with a disturbingly crappy detail that's been mostly overlooked — according to the new law, the Abortion Countdown Clock starts ticking down two weeks before conception, which means that if you're currently on your period but planning on ovulating in 2 weeks and possibly getting some sperm in you, you should start using the Reserved for Expectant Mothers parking spots in order to take advantage of your last remaining legally guaranteed right.
In the cacophony of clamoring anti-abortion political grandstanding that's been going on over the course of the last year and a half or so, it's easy to miss the small crappy details in the parade of terrible laws. But as Mother Jones' Kate Sheppard and Amanda Marcotte over at RH Reality Check have noticed, a new generation of Ovary Overreach Orders declare a woman's pregnancy to start on the first day of the last menstrual period before she conceives. Because conception can only occur when a woman ovulates about 2 weeks later, the 20-week abortion ban in Arizona would actually be a ban on abortion on a fetus that is only 18 weeks old. This also means that women who are actually With Tampon may be declared legally With Tampon by the state of Arizona.
There's about a Super Plus level of WTF in this declaration, but the first thought that came to my mind when I read about this was: was this law written by male lawmakers who grew up in a generation that separated the boys and girls during sex ed class? Like, if I handed out a bunch of unfilled in coloring book pages of the women's reproductive system and told them to label the parts, could they do it correctly? I'm beginning to think that the people writing these laws are the same people who refuse to go to the drug store to buy their wives menstrual pads or who worry that their 12-year-old daughters could lose her virginity to a tampon.
Marcotte writes that this could have implications down the road,
If a woman is "pregnant" two weeks before she becomes pregnant, than any fertile woman—-including those currently menstruating!—-should really be considered pregnant. After all, we don't know the future. We don't know that any non-pregnant woman couldn't be pregnant two weeks from now, making her retroactively pregnant now. 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.
You know, having functioning ovaries and a working uterus is getting to be too big a pain in the ass. Can anyone recommend a good veteranarian who performs spay surgeries on humans?
Update: Dr. Jen Gunter has a different take on the legislation. Check out her thoughts here.
AZ legislators trying to declare pregnancy 2 weeks prior to conception [RH Reality Check]