The Arizona legislature has succumbed to this problem big time. Yesterday, a legal eagle friend sent an urgent message about HB 2036. In addition to adding restrictions that would effectively put all but two of the practitioners at abortion clinics in our state out of business (because they don't have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic... and don't get me started on healthcare in a rural state with vast tracts of open land separating civilization from the wilderness), our Senate has amended HB2036 to include verbiage that makes even thinking about becoming pregnant equivalent to doing the actual deed.
Confused? You should be. On page eight of the proposed amendment to H.B. 2036, lawmakers lay out the “gestational age” of the child to be “calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman,” That phrase - the first day of your last period - is one that every woman who has ever visited a gynecologist has answered. For most of us (okay, for me) it was a challenge to keep the dates straight. Every gynecologist I ever visited had a calendar at hand.... and a list of helpful suggestions about what might have been going on in my life when I began my last period. I tried to remember to note it in my datebook prior to the appointment; I may have remembered once or twice.
So, accuracy is my first issue. But, there's more.
In its wisdom, our legislature is attempting to tell the female residents of Arizona that we are carrying a baby before we have had intercourse. I don't even know where to begin with this one. Can it be extrapolated to mean that a crime has been committed if a man considers sex with a woman two weeks before she is legally able to consent? Attempting to circumvent the 20 week cut-off for legal termination of a pregnancy, our legislators have, once again, abandoned science for bias.
Jimmy Carter admitted to lusting in his heart and was pilloried for it by the left (how silly) and the right (how sinful). This legislation seems just as foolish to me. You can't be held accountable for thinking of something; that's why we have hate speech laws but (at least not yet) no hate thought laws.
But it goes further than that, I think. Gestational age is a crap shoot; at least it was for me. The same woman did 3 ultra-sounds over the first few months when Little Cuter was growing happily inside me. She came up with three different due dates.... based on her assessment of the fetus's gestational age. It wasn't very helpful in terms of planning.... we knew it would be in May... or maybe June... but, as the obstetrician reminded us, medicine is an art not a science. There are few certainties.
So, as our streets crumble due to legislative sweeps of road funds into general funds, as our tax base dwindles and companies locate elsewhere, as our schools see their funding cut, our legislators talk a good game about jobs and tourism while they work to establish dominion over my body.
I've got to think that there are better uses of their time.