Monday, April 16, 2012

Mind-bending ontology

My brain is tying itself up in knots trying to grok how "life" can "begin" two week before conception. The certifiably insane legislators and governor of the fine state of Arizona have passed and signed into law new, draconian, women-hating legislation that among other things declares that pregnancy does indeed "begin" two weeks before conception. Considering that pregnancy often results from a spontaneous, unplanned union of zygotes, a union that cannot be predicted by anyone (human, anyway), and that determining when pregnancy begins is itself a sketchy business even for obstetricians, I'm having a heck of a time trying to imagine the ontological basis of such a law. When I mentioned to Tom that the lunatic governor had just signed this law, he scoffed at me and said that I'd been taken in by a hoax. I hadn't-- though I do admit that I keep doubting much of the news I read about what governments (especially in the US) are up to, and having to double-check. (As I did with this.) This law is known as as the "egg drop"bill. It bans all abortions after 20 weeks-- which is to say, in actuality, 18 weeks (i.e., 20 minus the two before conception). Here's
Planned Parenthood of Arizona lobbyist Michelle Steinberg called the law the country’s “most extreme piece of anti-abortion legislation.”

She said the law defines pregnancy in a way that bans abortion two weeks before the other seven states with similar laws, because it calculates gestational age starting with the first day of the last menstrual period rather than the date of conception.

During the hearings on the bill, doctors said many women don’t discover their fetus has a severe or life-threatening problem until an ultrasound at about the 20th week. The doctors — and several women who had faced this issue — testified that this law would arbitrarily cut off the right for these women to have an abortion.

“My heart goes out to the families that will be impacted,” Steinberg said. “Women are being forced to carry children that they know will end up dying within hours of birth.”

Debate on the bill was emotional.

Rep. Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix, who sponsored the bill, said the goal was to protect both the health of women and that of the fetus.

“The state has a compelling interest to protect women from the serious health and safety risks of abortion,” Yee said.

Brewer in a news release said the new law is consistent with her support of anti-abortion measures.

“Knowing that abortions become riskier the later they are performed in pregnancy, it only makes sense to prohibit these procedures past twenty weeks,” Brewer said in her release.

Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Tucson, said the new law was “a horrible thing to do to women.”

“Once again, (Brewer) and the Republicans in the Legislature have decided that they know better than women,” she said. “They are again saying that women are incapable of making those decisions.”
I'd say that the law "is consistent" with Brewer's history of supporting hateful, narrow-minded, and idiotic legislation designed to render the state a miserable place to live for the majority of its population. A new question: will medical textbooks need to be rewritten now? I fully expect a whole slew of insane legislatures to follow Arizona's lead. State legislatures, as the Texas legislature has brilliantly demonstrated, are perfectly capable of altering "facts." I can hardly wait to see what the next whacko idea coming out of the state will be now that they've broken the Ontology Barrier.

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