In Arizona yesterday, lawmakers passed three anti-abortion bills, including one that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy; one to prohibit lawsuits against doctors who withhold info from pregnant women; and one mandating how school curriculums must address the topic of unwanted pregnancies.
The state House of Representatives passed all three bills, which was followed by Senate approval. All three bills now head to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer.
Redefining ‘late-term abortions’ as beginning at 20 weeks (5 months) isn’t the only reason the first bill is drawing criticism. Here’s HuffPo writer John Celock:
The 18th week bill*** includes a new definition for when pregnancy begins. … 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.
Only after that does he mention that the definition corresponds with how doctors typically determine gestational age (which makes it hard to muster much outrage).
More alarming is that the late-term abortion ban would violate U.S. Supreme Court rulings on abortion by mandating a cutoff date that’s before viability and does not including provisions for women’s life and health. Or that the ‘wrongful birth‘ bill would prohibit lawsuits against doctors who decide not to reveal information about a fetus’ health that could lead to an abortion. Or that the sex-ed bill would require schools to teach students that adoption and birth are the best responses to an unwanted pregnancy.
Last month, Arizona lawmakers debated letting employers drop coverage for contraception except in cases where it was used for non-pregnancy-preventing purposes. But the bill stalled, when Gov. Brewer and Sen. John McCain both came out against the bill for violating women’s privacy. It could be revived in amended form.
*** The HuffPo article says Arizona’s bill would ban abortions after 18 weeks, but most other sources say 20 weeks.