Arizona made big strides today in its quest to be one of the absolute worst places to be a woman—or to even have a woman in your family. Governor Jan Brewer signed into law the hideous bill that redefines a pregnancy as beginning at two weeks before conception. That's the earliest of any state, so if you want to get a jump start on living, try to be conceived in Arizona. The law effectively bans abortions after 20 weeks gestational age—err, 18 weeks if you're using the old counting system—except in cases of medical emergency. As draconian as it sounds, it shouldn't change much since very few of those abortions are even performed in the state at the moment.
What will change, thanks to the very richly named Women's Health and Safety Act, is that medication-induced abortions will become much harder to come by. The law requires that doctors prescribing medications for non-surgical abortions have hospital privileges within 30 miles of where the procedure takes place. Most women either take the pills at home or at a clinic, which often are not within 30 miles of a hospital. This will prevent providers from caring for women, and Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute says this will effectively be a "shutdown" of medication abortions. Now might be the time to take your uterus and run, people of Arizona.
Jordan Goldberg says this law "disregards women's health in a way I've never seen before. The women of Arizona can't access medical treatment that other women can." That's the thing, it's not just going to restrict access to abortion. It also dictates that schools make teaching about birth and adoption a priority. Healthcare facilities will have signs that warn against abortion "coercion." (Oh sweet Lord, let's hope that backfires on the pro-lifers since they've reached plantinum member status in the coercion club.) Also, the state health department will have a website promoting abortion alternatives and displaying images of fetuses—you stay classy, Arizona!