It’s all about who controls state government– Arizona just passed three more extreme anti-choice laws.
1. Pregnancy/gestation is now counted as beginning on the last day of a woman’s period, with abortion only permitted up to 18 weeks, the shortest time span in the nation;
2. Doctors can withhold health information about a fetus from the woman if that information might lead her to have an abortion; and
3. Rules mandating how schools may teach about unwanted pregnancies.
As we look around the country, watch what is going on in Washington DC, and hear the GOP candidates attack a woman’s right to contraception, we realize our state governments are our last line of defence. States controlled by an ultra-conservative anti-women legislators are systematically turning back the clock to a time where the rythm method was the only form of birth control available to women; where women who have sexual relations are called “sluts”; and single parenthood is deemed child abuse. States after states are passing laws that take away a woman’s dignity and control over her own body, and, thus, her life. Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Colorado…the list of states taking away our rights is sadly seemingly endless. And, YES, it could happen here in New York.
Who is making the rules that govern our state? Right now it is the Republican-controlled NYS Senate, led by anti-choice extremist Republican Majority leader Dean Skelos. To protect our rights and to pass the Reproductive Health Act that guarantees that every woman can make her own personal, private health care decisions, especially when her health is endangered. Seven out of 10 New York voters – across religious and party lines – support the Reproductive Health Act. Too bad Skelos doesn’t care. If New Yorkers are to take control of their bodies and health, we must get rid of the Republican controlled majority in our state senate.
from the Huffington Post, 4/11/2012
“Arizona lawmakers gave final passage to three anti-abortion bills Tuesday afternoon, including one that declares pregnancies in the state begin two weeks before conception.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill to prohibit abortions after the 18th week of pregnancy; a bill to protect doctors from being sued if they withhold health information about a pregnancy that could cause a woman to seek an abortion; and a bill to mandate that how school curriculums address the topic of unwanted pregnancies.
The 18th week bill includes a new definition for when pregnancy begins. All of the bills passed the Senate and now head to Gov. Jan Brewer (R) for her signature or veto. Passage of the late-term abortion bill would give Arizona the earliest definition of late-term abortion in the country; most states use 20 weeks as a definition.
A sentence in the bill defines gestational age as “calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman,” which would move the beginning of a pregnancy up two weeks prior to conception.
Elizabeth Nash, states issues manager for Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research organization in Washington, said the definition corresponds with how doctors typically determine gestational age. She said since the exact date of conception cannot be pinpointed, doctors use the day of the woman’s last menstrual period to gauge the duration of a pregnancy. The method does not provide an exact date.
“It will have some impact, from what we understand there are abortions provided at that point in Arizona,” Nash said. “It will reduce access.”
Nash said nationally, 1.5 percent of abortions in the U.S. occur after the 21st week and 3.8 percent occur between the 16th and 20th weeks. She said the bill would violate U.S. Supreme Court rulings on abortion by mandating a cutoff date that is before viability and not having enough provisions for late-term abortions needed to protect a woman’s health.
State Rep. Kimberly Yee (R-Phoenix), the bill’s sponsor, was not immediately available for comment. Her assistant said that Yee, a former aide to former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), was voting on the House floor.
State Rep. Matt Heinz (D-Tucson), a physician, said he did not want the state to set the gestational age since science could not provide a precise one. “I imagine it will be a legal dispute. How can a judge determine gestational age?” Heinz said. “If medical science can only determine gestational age to within 10-14 days, how can a superior court judge do it?”
The other two bills passed by the House include the state’s “wrongful birth, wrongful life” bill that prohibits lawsuits against doctors who do not provide information about a fetus’ health if that information could lead to an abortion. In addition, parents cannot sue on the child’s behalf after birth.
The third bill requires that schools teach students that adoption and birth are the most acceptable outcomes for an unwanted pregnancy.
All three bills are now headed to Brewer’s desk for her review. The governor has not announced a position on the bills, which is her practice, but her spokesman indicated that Brewer has a long commitment to pro-life issues.”
Not All “20-Week” Bans Are Created Equal: A Closer Look at How Abortion Bans Diverge from Medical Protocol and Put Women at Risk
Arizona Lawmakers Trying To Legislate Pregnancy Two Weeks Prior To Conception
How Nebraska’s 20-Week Abortion Ban Became One Family’s nightmare and Why We Need to Ban The Bans
Mississippi’s “Heartbeat” Ban Returns