When Arizona’s HB 2036 was introduced by state Rep. Kimberly Yee, it was meant to revise the law regarding private attorney retention. With amendments, it ended up being a bill that declared life begins at menstruation, not conception. This was done so that the latest date for an abortion could be moved from twenty weeks after pregnancy to eighteen, while still making the argument that this was about a twenty-week cutoff after which a fetus is supposed to begin to feel pain.
The sponsor of HB 2036 heartily endorsed the change from a bill about attorney retention to redefining the beginning of life. Rep. Yee reiterated her support after Governor Jan Brewer signed the bill. Statepress reports Yee’s argument for passing this bill:
She said the bill was drafted after testimonies and letters from several doctors indicated that it was necessary to protect maternal health.
“Doctors gave specific examples about putting the life of a mother at the forefront of health and safety,” Yee said.
She said the letters and testimonies also indicated that a fetus is fully capable of feeling pain 20 weeks into a pregnancy.
The only possible way to tie a mother’s health into this bill is that two weeks less development in a fetus is little bit less taxing on a woman’s health. Of course, eliminating two weeks from the timeline for an abortion might mean less abortions, and that is the real purpose.
Yee and others argued the purpose of the bill was to prevent abortions past twenty weeks, but they actually changed that to eighteen by their twisted interpretation of biology. It is mind boggling to argue a 20-week cutoff date for an abortion when fetal development is only at 18 weeks. It isn’t just biology being turned on its head, but logic too.
If Yee is so concerned about protecting a mother’s “health and safety,” then why did she introduce a bill about retaining attorneys in the first place?
One of the doctors who provided testimony for the bill said that abortions after the twentieth week can be harmful to a mother’s health and every week adds extra dangers. That may be true, but there aren’t any dangers to a woman’s health in the two weeks prior to pregnancy. Planned Parenthood tried to get the legislature to amend the bill to declare that an egg must be fertilized to be a life, but the Arizona legislature would have nothing to do with it.
At least it makes sense for those who oppose abortion to argue against it on the basis that all abortions are wrong. There is a philosophical consistency in the argument. The consistency falls apart when they start to argue about a woman’s health by declaring that the further a pregnancy processes the further the risk on a woman’s health during an abortion. While true, there is also a great risk to a woman’s health by continuing a pregnancy. Pregnancy is a dangerous state. It was not so long ago when death at childbirth was not uncommon.
This concern about a woman’s health is a smoke-screen to the issue of abortion. It makes no sense to argue that a woman’s health is endangered the further a pregnancy goes along when that pregnancy is going to end after nine months anyway. Add in that a pregnancy starts two weeks before conception, and the science behind this bill is lunacy. What’s next? Pregnancy starts at puberty? This is Arizona. No one should put that option before them; they just might go for it.