A new law was signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and went into effect on Thursday that has abortion advocates up in arms. The new law, titled Women’s Health and Safety Act deems a woman pregnant 2 weeks before conception.
According to Planned Parenthood of Arizona lobbyist Michelle Steinberg, the law will reduce the amount of time a legal abortion can be obtained by women. Steinberg stated that, the law is our nation’s “most extreme piece of anti-abortion legislation.”
The bill was sponsored by Arizona State Rep. Kimberly Yee. Yee is also an ardent supporter of drug testing anyone who receives welfare assistance. She is considered by some to be an “extremist”.
Steinberg explained the law by saying, “The law defines pregnancy in a way that bans abortion two weeks before the other seven states who have similar laws. It calculates gestational age starting with the first day of the last menstrual period rather than the date of conception.”
The law which went into effect this month also now requires any women who want to have an abortion to have an ultrasound 24 hours before the procedure. The current law will allow abortions to be performed up until the time that the fetus could “reasonably survive outside the womb”. This is around 22 to 24 weeks.
With the current law, a woman could still legally have an abortion after that time if it was to “protect the life or health of the woman”. That would no longer be the case with the new law.
Jordan Goldberg is the Center of Reproductive Rights state advocacy counsel. She spoke with the Daily Beast stating that the law “disregards women’s health in a way I’ve never seen before. The women of Arizona can’t access medical treatments that other women can.”