A Little Bit Pregnant

Arizona Law Declares Life Begins
2 Weeks BEFORE Conception

LOS ANGELES, CA., April 13, 2012: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law yesterday the controversial and euphemistically titled Women’s Health and Safety Act, which officially declares in the state of Arizona that life begins on the last day of a woman’s period, two weeks before conception. The purpose of the law is to make attaining an abortion, currently a legal right in the United States due to the 1973 ruling by the Supreme Court Roe-v-Wade, nearly impossible to provide or perform within the state. Very little press outside of Arizona has appeared regarding this law and how it may be misconstrued.

The bill’s champion and sponsor is State Representative Kimberly Yee, who claims in an article published by Allison Yarrow for the Daily Beast that many of her constituents believe the bill doesn’t go “far enough”.  Yee comments about her motivation in the same article that "In 2010 when I campaigned and knocked on doors the first thing people asked me was, ‘Where do you stand on life?’"

Yee was an aid at the time for former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Lobbying for the bill was handled by the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life (AUL), who consider the new law marking the beginning of life prior to conception as the blueprint for bringing it to fruition in other states throughout the country. Currently North Dakota and Oklahoma are considering similar laws.

AUL's website cites the law as a breakthrough in banning late-term abortions stating:

“This ban will protect women’s lives, despite the best efforts of the abortion industry to block reasonable limits on a procedure that becomes more dangerous with each passing month,” said Dr. Yoest. “Medical evidence demonstrates that abortion can cause serious physical and psychological complications—and the risk of those complications raises dramatically later in pregnancy. By prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks, the Arizona Legislature has taken a vital step toward protecting the health of women in Arizona.”

In addition to strengthening Arizona’s already tough laws concerning abortion, the new law requires abortion counseling for women aiming to abort pregnancies due to fetal abnormalities.

Main points of the new law:

  • Life officially begins the day following a woman’s period.
  • Mandatory education in public schools promoting birth and adoption.
  • Healthcare facilities must post warning signs throughout their public areas to prevent abortion "coercion".
  • State health department is required to create an informational website advocating alternatives to abortion prominently displaying images of fetuses.
  • Counseling will be required for all women considering terminating their pregnancy due to fetal abnormalities.
  • Perinatal hospice information will be provided to all women seeking to end a diagnosed fetal abnormality pregnancy.
  • Continues the required notarized parental consent form for minors.
  • Reinforces the mandatory ultrasound screening within 24 hours of having an abortion.

By moving the date of life’s beginning to two weeks prior to conception, the bill moves the cutoff date for late term abortions from 20 weeks to 18.  Late term abortions account for approximately 1% of all abortions in the United States with many occurring for medical reasons. The law will take effect in 90 days.

The Unintended Consequences

The focus of the legislation has been on its banning of abortions after the 18th week except when the mother’s life is at risk. By moving the date that life begins to prior to conception or sex, the law seeks to further control women and their lives well beyond the abortion issue. In essence the law makes any woman in the state of Arizona between puberty and menopause pregnant two out of four weeks in every month of her reproductive years, whether or not she is having intercourse. The only two weeks she is not considered pregnant are the week prior to menstruation and the week of. By declaring that life begins prior to fertilization, this opens the door for the state to now outlaw all forms of birth control including the pill, products like Plan B and anything else that might prevent the fertilization of the egg, because the woman is already pregnant under the law.

Additionally, it could provide the state with the ability to dictate the lifestyle of women in their reproductive years, a form of social engineering under the guise of protection of the unborn...or in this case, not even conceived.  Since the state deems a woman is pregnant two weeks prior to conception, she may now conceivably be held responsible for behavior that might harm the yet to be conceived.  Drinking, smoking, not eating a healthy diet, not taking vitamins, obesity, engaging in risky sports, careers and other activities normal for women who are not pregnant could now come into question. The majority of pregnant women will change their lifestyle upon finding out they’re pregnant for the health of the child.  This law considers you pregnant before you’ve even concieved.

Little discussion has gone into potential realities of declaring a woman pregnant before she becomes pregnant or even has sex, nor has it or the potential reordering of social classification and lifestyle been considered due to it.  The focus has been on preventing 1% of all abortions rather than what it means to women if they’re considered pregnant upwards of 50% of their childbearing years by the state.


Laura Dawn Lewis is the publisher and founder of Couples Company and the author of  2012 Event, Editorial & Promotional Calendar, The Storybook Advent Calendar: 24 Stories for Christmas and the Laid Off Now What Series. 

Further reading:



Don't be shy!  Leave your comments below. 

Relationship and support group