Arizona lawmakers passed three strict anti-abortion bills on Tuesday that would make it even more difficult for women in the state to obtain late-term abortions, even when it may be medically necessary.
The Huffington Post reports: “The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill to prohibit abortions after the 18th week of pregnancy; a bill to protect doctors from being sued if they withhold health information about a pregnancy that could cause a woman to seek an abortion; and a bill to mandate that how school curriculums address the topic of unwanted pregnancies.”
The bill prohibiting abortion after the 18th week of pregnancy is the strictest late term abortion bill in the nation, which typically prohibits termination after the 20th week. A provision in the bill also redefines when life begins, saying that gestational age is “calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman,” which would mean that a woman’s pregnancy would begin two weeks before conception.
Democrats in the state feel that this redefinition of gestational age will not hold up in court. State Rep. Matt Heinz said, “I imagine it will be a legal dispute. How can a judge determine gestational age? If medical science can only determine gestational age to within 10-14 days, how can a superior court judge do it?”
The remaining bills passed by the Republican-controlled house stipulates that students be taught that adoption and birth are the most acceptable solutions to unwanted pregnancy. While another bill protects doctors from being sued for not informing women about possible health issues of a fetus that might cause them to seek an abortion. It also makes it illegal for families to sue doctors after a child is born with a health complication that could have been detected before birth.
The bills now head to Gov. Jan Brewer’s desk to await her signature.