Memo to: Tea Party Patriots, Members of National Right to Life, Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar, and the U.S. Congress of Catholic Bishops.
Did you hear the news? The Arizona State Legislature, no doubt with the assistance of the American Legislative Exchange Council has just achieved the goal that has eluded all of you for so long. And Arizona did it without one whit of help from women or doctors; indeed they did it without involving a single sperm. With just upraised hands they accomplished what those of us most profoundly affected by their action had always assumed was impossible.
They have legislated women into a state of perpetual pregnancy.
While this borders on the unfathomable, let me at least try to explain. Tuesday the legislature passed three bills aimed at curbing abortion. (Ed. Note: In Arizona Tuesdays and Thursdays are devoted to laws depriving women of human rights; Monday and Friday are for anti-immigrant legislation, and Wednesday is reserved for resolutions demanding the President’s birth certificate.) One bill rolls the timeline defining late term abortions forward to 18 weeks and contains a clause that dates gestational age from “the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman.” This effectively moves the beginning of a pregnancy to two weeks prior to conception.
Instead of being proof positive that she is not pregnant, her period will now inform every woman between the approximate ages of 12 and 55 that her latest pregnancy has just begun. And, she must assume that pregnancy exists until the moment her next period starts when she must again…. Oh hell, you get the point.
By now the comments section below is probably filling up with notes straightening out my concept of biology. At least one of them reads – You idiot, this law is just meant to assist doctors in determining if an abortion is still legal.”
Horse hockey! Let me show you where this is going. Remember the bill introduced a year or so ago in Georgia that would have assumed that every lost pregnancy was an abortion until proven differently? While at that point there were still a few men with brains left in the Georgia legislature and it did not pass, at the rate the situation for women is deteriorating in every red state the bill will be back and its operational potential is terrifying. Under such a law a woman could be held liable for a crime if a spontaneous abortion occurred and she had previously been horseback riding or on a two-day toot.
So a law like Georgia’s coupled with the new Arizona law would force women to give up for their entire childbearing life anything which might endanger the life of her unborn child – even if she isn’t carrying one. Being a virgin or celibate would not excuse her because couldn’t that conceivably (so to speak) change in the next two weeks?
Obviously tobacco use is off the table as is any type of presumed risky entertainment (sky diving? Apache dancing?) and even worse women could be precluded from holding lots of well paying but strenuous jobs. Even without a Georgia-like presumptive abortion bill, the Arizona law could be setting us up for a round of child safety laws regulating women’s diet, alcohol consumption, and exercise.
And ladies, guess what. This little gem was introduced into the Arizona legislature by a woman, State Rep. Kimberly Yee (R-Phoenix), and may well be signed into law by another woman, Governor Jan Brewer. Of all the things Arizona has done to embarrass itself over the last four years, that they have elevated any woman into a position of power who is capable of so abusing her sisters, nieces and daughters has to be the worst.
When I moved from Boston to Georgia ten years ago they told me about grits and pork rinds, warned me about the bugs, and assured me there would be a lot less snow. They did not tell me that belonging to a church is required by statute and that I would be the only liberal between Atlanta and the Canary Islands.
There are, however, Yellow Dogs. These are Southerners who would vote for a Golden Retriever if it were running as a Democrat. That these people would be called Republicans if they lived in New England does not make me one bit less grateful that they exist.