Arizona Launches Manipulative Government Website to Shame Women Out of Getting Abortions

Illustration for article titled Arizona Launches Manipulative Government Website to Shame Women Out of Getting Abortions

Arizona's Department of Health Services built a new website last week called "A Woman's Right to Know." Fascinating! What do you think women have the right to know about? A full range of contraceptive options? How the new Affordable Care Act works? The best happy hour spots in the state? No, silly! Women have the "right" to know about the emotional and physical dangers of abortion, because women who choose to get the extremely safe medical procedure are probably too dumb to understand how abortion works and therefore should be pressured into changing their minds.


(P.S. Speaking of dumb, the image above is from the printable version of the website. Personhood > grammar, apparently?)

The website is mandated by the same state measure that bans abortions at the 20th week of pregnancy. Rep. Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix, who sponsored the legislation, told the Arizona Daily Sun that its purpose is to make sure women truly give "informed consent" before getting an abortion — because, again, women usually blithely choose to terminate a pregnancy the same way I sometimes decide what movie to see without even looking at Metacritic first — but she also "acknowledged she believes that the site will convince some women considering an abortion not to go through with it." You think?

State Health Director Will Humble said the website was totally non-biased and objective, citing his decision to leave out unsubstantiated claims that other states have put on similar websites, like Texas's website which links abortion to an increased risk of breast cancer. Congratulations, State Health Director, for feeling pleased about failing to include a study on your official government website that pretty much everyone who knows what they're talking about has concluded is bullshit.

Make no mistake: the website is biased, and if Humble doesn't think so, he's either lying or stupid. The title itself — "A Women's Right to Know" — is incredibly patronizing. The first paragraph on the home page doesn't define abortion or even explain why a woman might choose to terminate a pregnancy; instead, it states that " an abortion shall not be performed or induced without the voluntary and informed consent of the woman for whom the abortion is to be performed or induced. If your doctor performs an abortion on you without obtaining your voluntary consent or without allowing a private medical consultation they may be liable to you for claims in a civil action." Because it's that easy for women to get abortions, you guys! Those wily doctors will give you an abortion even if you don't want one! Lock your windows!

Illustration for article titled Arizona Launches Manipulative Government Website to Shame Women Out of Getting Abortions

Then there's "Characteristics of an Unborn Child," which says the age of said "unborn child" is "most often defined by gestational age, which is measured from the first day of the last normal menstrual period," and explains some basic DNA info that you probably learned in elementary school. Oh, and then it notes that "During the first 8 weeks, the unborn child is known as an embryo. After that time the unborn child is known as a fetus." Ha, but how does it matter how something "is known" in a scientific or medical setting? Let's just call it an "unborn child" straight off the bat, to make women feel unnecessarily shitty!

According to the Guttmacher Institute, first trimester abortions pose virtually no health risks. Yet, the website has multiple tabs about the dangers of abortion: "Medical Risks of Abortion," "Mortality Risks of Abortion," "After an Abortion." Pregnancy and Childbirth, on the other hand, are detailed on a page called "Pregnancy and Childbirth" (Maybe we should be happy it's not called "The Best Gift You'll Ever Receive In Your Life") where we learn that it "is usually a safe, natural process although complications can occur."


What else can you find on "A Woman's Right to Know?" Services for women who decide to carry to term and tons of fetus illustrations, at two-week intervals. What can't you find? Helpful information on contraceptive options, a breakdown of the new Affordable Care Act, or any happy hour spots. Too bad, because Arizona's women definitely need the latter.

Website details abortion risks [Arizona Daily Sun]


I'd eat a spider

20 weeks is BS. D'you know how long it takes to get an abortion sometimes. For argument's sake, woman from somewhere remote like Kyuquot finds out she's pregnant. Sees GP to confirm pregnancy and is referred to Gynae at hospital for abortion. Most hospitals require three (3) visits before termination. Because x lives in Kyuquot, the closest hospital is Port Alberni or Comox, it takes an entire day to get to both between water taxis/float planes and driving. X has to arrange childcare if she has children. Repeat three times, then finally gets the procedure. Has to get there, stay in the hospital or get a hotel room and continues to require childcare so she can recover adequately. If 20 weeks was the cutoff where I live, so many women (especially First Nations, Metis and Inuit) would be shit out of luck. Never mind economic issues that arise.