ONTD Political

Arizona Legislators Trying To Declare Pregnancy Two Weeks Prior To Conception

5:12 pm - 04/02/2012
The past few months, we’ve seen the nation wake up to many anti-choice assaults on women’s basic right to control their fertility, especially with regards to imposing forced ultrasounds and numerous attacks on access to basic contraception. But one of the other favorite anti-choice approaches to maximizing the pain and suffering of women as punishment for sex has largely gone unnoticed by many outside of the pro-choice activist community: bans on abortions after 20 weeks. It’s understandable that it’s hard to whip people up about this particular situation. After all, abortions after 20 weeks are relatively rare. Only 1.5% of abortions occur after the 20th week, and the vast majority of those that do occur are done for medical reasons, or because legal and financial obstacles--like those put in place by lawmakers--caused a delay. While, if they knew their personal stories, most people would certainly sympathize with women in need of post-20 week abortions, a certain amount of reproductive rights fatigue is setting in. There’s only so many hours in the day, and anti-choicers know if they just keep throwing restrictions on access at us, some will slip through the cracks.

But, as exhausting as it is, we need to pay attention to and resist post-20 week bans on abortion. That’s because it’s cruel on its surface, but also because legislators are using 20 week bans in order to smuggle in other items of more importance to them than simply making it harder for a slim minority of women seeking abortions to get them. The most obvious thing they’re trying to do is set anti-science precedent. Since these bans are based on the false, unscientific claim that fetuses at 20 weeks can feel pain, if they’re allowed to stand, it opens the door for more laws based on straight-up lies to be passed. These laws are also being used to challenge the requirement set out in Roe v Wade that a woman’s health and life should trump that of the misogynist desire to keep her pregnant at all costs.

Legislators have had so much success smuggling in ulterior motives with 20-week bans that they’re now looking for ways to expand the amount of hard right anti-choice nonsense they can attach to those bills. The most recent---and extreme---example is Arizona. There, lawmakers are writing a 20-week abortion ban that starts counting off at the first day of a woman’s period. Yes, they’re arguing that you’re “pregnant” while you’re actually getting your period. In fact, as Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones explains, they’re really trying to steal as many weeks as possible away from women seeking abortion:

Most women ovulate about 14 or 15 days after their period starts, and women can usually get pregnant from sexual intercourse that occured anywhere between five days before ovulation and a day after it. Arizona's law would start the clock at a woman's last period—which means, in practice, that the law prohibits abortion later than 18 weeks after a woman actually becomes pregnant.

That’s bad in and of itself, but taking a step back and looking at the big picture makes this law look even more sinister. Medically speaking, pregnancy starts when a fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining. Anti-choicers have attempted to define it earlier with their failed attempts to pass “personhood” law that would define not just pregnancy, but “personhood” as beginning at conception. Now in Arizona, they’re trying to argue that you’re pregnant a couple of weeks before you even had the sex that resulted in your pregnancy.

Think about the 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. Better safe than sorry, especially if that mentality means you get to exert maximum control over the bodies of women of reproductive age.

Between personhood bills and the assault on access to contraception, it’s becoming increasingly clear that anti-choicers aren’t satisfied with simply trying to control the already-pregnant. Finding ways to define the not-pregnant as pregnant is a means of laying the groundwork for exerting this control. Imagine if Roe is overturned and states go into a true frenzy of stripping every imaginable right away from pregnant women. It wouldn’t be limited to stripping the right to abortion, but also to any kind of behavior deemed “abortive,” including holding certain kinds of jobs, eating certain foods, or taking certain medications. With this bill, then, you could not only restrict the rights of those who are actually pregnant, but extend the restrictions to all women of reproductive age on the grounds that they “could be pregnant in two weeks, i.e. in perpetuity” and would therefore be considered the same thing as being pregnant.

Already in some states, they’re looking for ways to prosecute women who have stillbirths if they did something the prosecutor believes may have had an impact on the pregnancy, such as drug use. With the hoped-for overturn of Roe, we can expect these efforts to intensify, with prosecutions of miscarriages. Now with this Arizona bill, if a woman is deemed pregnant two weeks before she actually is, prosecutors could even have a chance to look at your choices when you weren’t even pregnant---before you even had the sex that made you pregnant---and blame those choices for bad outcomes. They’re creating, brick by brick, the legal basis on which to prosecute a woman who drinks some alcohol, becomes pregnant two weeks later, and miscarries, even though she didn’t drink while pregnant. And you best believe that when feminists protest this, they’ll just paint it as if we’re more interested in protecting drunken sluts than “babies.”

If you can be “pregnant” without being pregnant, that also creates legal complications around simple menstruation. After all, menstruation is usually seen as the opposite of being pregnant; women use menstruation to mark that they aren’t pregnant. But under this bill, you could both be menstruating and “pregnant” by law. Should Roe be overturned and the state start looking to prosecute women for miscarriages they deem inappropriately prevented, what about women who are just getting their period? They’re “pregnant” under the pregnant-prior-to-conception framework, aren’t they? Are they miscarrying in the eyes of the law or are they just continuing their theoretical pregnancy? These kinds of ambiguities are exactly the sort of thing zealous misogynist law enforcement will be looking to exploit.

Source ,2

The only places I've seen this story are here and alternet, but it's disturbing to see that these horrible views on women are finally coming to light.

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chaya 2nd-Apr-2012 09:18 pm (UTC)
The only places I've seen this story are here and alternet,

Actually, there's a Mother Jones link in the article you submitted.
age_of_green 2nd-Apr-2012 09:29 pm (UTC)
eyetosky 2nd-Apr-2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
You old white motherfuckers just want me to name all my eggs before puberty and take a roll call every month, don't you?
chaya 2nd-Apr-2012 09:23 pm (UTC)
intrikate88 2nd-Apr-2012 09:25 pm (UTC)
Wait, I'd like to make my period illegal too, but I don't think either lawmakers or me can enforce that, so we're all SOL.
ducttapeninja 2nd-Apr-2012 09:30 pm (UTC)
... lawmakers are writing a 20-week abortion ban that starts counting off at the first day of a woman’s period. Yes, they’re arguing that you’re “pregnant” while you’re actually getting your period.


Sweet zombie baby dinosaurs this can't be fucking serious. Just... WHAT?!
wingstar102 2nd-Apr-2012 09:34 pm (UTC)
I think my brain just exploded from the sheer stupidity of these lawmakers thinking they can legislate my periods now. Wow. And, to think, I'm moving back to this state. I wish I didn't have to.

Thank goodness for condoms. That's all I have to say about that.
mirhanda 2nd-Apr-2012 09:37 pm (UTC)
BRB, going to throw up.

I just can't take this anymore. I just can't.
doverz 2nd-Apr-2012 09:42 pm (UTC)
So fucking stupid.
huit 2nd-Apr-2012 09:45 pm (UTC)
<scarcasm> OMG I've been pregnant 187 times already and nobody ever told me???? And because I've never had sex with a man that means I've aborted 187 babies!!!!! </sarcasm>

Where's a good facepalm/headdesk gif when you need one...

PS. <extra sarcasm> Shouldn't this change the voting and drinking age because life really begins 9 months and 2 weeks before you are born? </extra sarcasm>

Edited at 2012-04-02 09:54 pm (UTC)
carmy_w 3rd-Apr-2012 03:22 pm (UTC)
I would LOVE to see this used if one of these personhood bills ever hits the books!

No, you can't prosecute me for an MIP, because my conception date was over 21 years ago, even if my birthday is still two months away!
layweed 2nd-Apr-2012 09:46 pm (UTC)
wtf is this
pageup 2nd-Apr-2012 09:47 pm (UTC)
You'd almost want to laugh at the sheer stupid of these "legislators" (inverted commas there because I think fuckwits is a better term) if this wasn't so fucking serious and scary. It's do damn obvious that it's men trying to push through these laws because they know fuck all about periods and how not regular they can be.
elmocho 2nd-Apr-2012 11:41 pm (UTC)
The bill's sponsor is Kimberly Yee, from AZLD10.

My theory is they're having women sponsor these damn things so they can say "See, women want this, too!" and don't come off like the jackasses they are.
vexed_artist 2nd-Apr-2012 09:49 pm (UTC)
I say we nuke the state from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
vexed_artist 2nd-Apr-2012 09:54 pm (UTC)
Also, on a more serious note, I wonder what these "legislators" would say to women like me, who have maybe two or three periods a year due to health issues, but who still might find themselves pregnant two or more months after their last menstruation (stranger things have happened.)
dumpweeds 2nd-Apr-2012 09:53 pm (UTC)
I'm waiting for it to be a requirement for women to have at least one child before menopause, because clearly that's all we're meant to be
goodopinion 2nd-Apr-2012 10:33 pm (UTC)
sshh... don't give them any ideas!
spiffynamehere 2nd-Apr-2012 09:59 pm (UTC)
That. Is. Terrifying.
mollywobbles867 2nd-Apr-2012 10:03 pm (UTC)
Apparently I'm pregnant. Immaculate conception! My child will tell all these fuckheads to chill the fuck out or go to the moon.
louisadkins 3rd-Apr-2012 04:11 am (UTC)
This is your captain speaking! Arizona Disposal and Shuttle would like to welcome each and every conservative fuckwit lawmaker to the moon. If you will please remain in your seat until the cabin pressure has equalized, we will have you out of here as soon as possible. Due to budgetary constraints, we had to choose between being able to offer you The Beatles Greatest Hits and Standardized Space Suit Pro Edition. After consideration, and some complaints that you already own your own suits, we opted to license the Beatles. Please enjoy this classic rendition as the oxygen is vented from the cabins. *Help! I need somebody! Help! Not just-* -hissssss-
13chapters 2nd-Apr-2012 10:06 pm (UTC)
last week jon stewart said that he thought arizona and florida were in a harms race.

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