New Law Defines Pregnancy as Two Weeks Before Conception
August 27, 2012
Are you pregnant? If you answered no, a new Arizona law might still consider you to be with child even if you're—biologically—not. The “Woman’s Health and Safety Act” was signed into law by Arizona Governor Jen Brewer now defines pregnancy as beginning two weeks before conception. The bill calculates the gestational age starting with the very first day of the last menstrual period. Although your OB will date a pregnancy starting with the expected date of your missed period, the law has traditionally defined pregnancy as starting at conception.
The new legislation comes at a time when the abortion debate is more heated than ever. According to the Tucson Citizen, abortions are legal in Arizona up until the fetus can reasonably survive on its own outside the womb—a window that extends to 22 to 24 weeks based on a gestational age that starts with conception. Women generally ovulate (and thereby conceive) two weeks after the start of their last period. By determining that pregnancy starts two weeks before conception, Arizona’s new law narrows the window in which a woman can seek an abortion.
This new bill might especially affect women who are carrying fetuses with birth defects, as anatomy scan ultrasounds that determine some severe or life-threatening abnormalities usually aren’t done until the 20th week. Critics have pointed out that this law will limit the right of these women to terminate a pregnancy.
Do you support this new law? Do you think it's ridiculous? Leave a comment.