Jan Brewer Signs "Life Begins at Menstruation" Bill, the Most Draconian Anti-Abortion Law So Far
Arizona can now claim the nation's worst assault on women's reproductive rights so far.
The law “disregards women’s health in a way I’ve never seen before,” said Center for Reproductive Rights’ state advocacy counsel, Jordan Goldberg. “The women of Arizona can’t access medical treatment that other women can.” [...]
The fingerprints of policy group Americans United for Life are all over much of the bill’s language, according to Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute. She says the legislation is a mishmash of parts of other states’ bills, and predicted that still other conservative states looking to restrict and discourage abortions will now look to Arizona’s bill as model legislation.
“The point is to make it so difficult to provide abortions that no one will do it,” said Nash. “Arizona likes to thumb their nose at women. They take that as a badge of honor.”
The life begins at menstruation law goes into effect in 90 days:
• It sets the gestational age as beginning on the first day of a woman’s last period, rather than at fertilization. Which, in practice, means that a virgin can get pregnant and instead of barring abortions after 20 weeks as the law states, actually cuts the time to 18 weeks.
• Medication abortions (by pill), usually done at home or a clinic within the first nine weeks of pregnancy, must now be done by a medical provider who has hospital privileges within 30 miles of where the procedure takes place. The law also mandates outdated protocol that Nash says may cause confusion. The provision is an attempt to shut down medication abortions altogether. North Dakota and Oklahoma are in litigation over similar provisions in their laws.
• Sex education is not mandated in Arizona, but any such education must now prioritize birth and adoption.
• Health-care facilities must put up signs warning against abortion "coercion."
• The state health department must set up a website focusing on alternatives to abortion and displaying photos of fetuses.
• "Counseling" is required for women aiming seeking abortions because of fetal abnormalities. Such counseling must include perinatal hospice information.
• Previous requirements are reiterated for a notarized parental consent form for minors and a mandatory ultrasound screening 24 hours before having an abortion.
Planned Parenthood national president Gloria Feldt says Arizona has long had bad law regarding abortion, but the situation worsened when Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano became secretary of Homeland Security and Brewer took over. The Americans United for Life website says: "With the appointment of Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security, the Arizona legislature was finally able to capitalize on an opportunity to enact life-affirming legislation without fear of unwarranted veto."
But they tell us there is no war on women.