Arizona's new conception calculator.
Virginity is no excuse.
The forced-birther attacks on privacy and reproductive rights have brought new meaning to the word relentless. They attack on all fronts and when they lose, they don't back off. They innovate.
One of the more recent efforts has been the outlawing of abortions after 20 weeks. Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma and Idaho all enacted laws in 2011 prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks of gestation based on the claim of "fetal pain." Nebraska adopted a similar law in 2010. Pro-choice advocates argue that these laws violate the Supreme Court's rulings that forbid states from placing undue burdens on women seeking abortions. And they point out that such abortions are rare, less than 1.5 percent of the total, and either medically essential or done because of delays put in place by other abortion-restricting laws. And they further point out that the fetal pain claim is utterly bogus and unscientific.
None of the 20-week laws has been court-tested. So other states have queued up with their own versions. Arizona has now joined them.
With a perverse added twist. Call it the Life Begins at Menstruation provision.
The way the 20 weeks would be calculated in Arizona is with a countdown that starts on the first day of a woman’s period. Kate Sheppard explains:
Most women ovulate about 14 or 15 days after their period starts, and women can usually get pregnant from sexual intercourse that occur[r]ed 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.
In practice, it means that, under the Arizona law, a virgin could be pregnant.
As Amanda Marcotte says:
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.
If Arizona required sex education in its public schools, not only would the state not rank fourth in teen pregnancies, perhaps enough senators to kill this wacko provision of this outrageous bill would be aware of the basic biology involved here. Riiiiight. Who am I kidding? For the forced-birther brigade, in and out of elected office, the woman-hating agenda trumps everything: science and common-sense and human decency included.