Surprised? So was I, let me tell you! But the fact is that I certainly might be pregnant in the state of Arizona!
Arizona lawmakers gave final passage to three anti-abortion bills Tuesday afternoon, including one that declares pregnancies in the state begin two weeks before conception.
A sentence in the bill defines gestational age as “calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman,” which would move the beginning of a pregnancy up two weeks prior to conception.
Since I will (hopefully!) continue to fuck my awesome lover — an act that presents a risk, no matter how reduced, of resulting in a pregnancy — I could actually be pregnant already!!!
Lest you misinterpret my uncharacteristic exclamation marks for the giddy excitement of a new mother-to-be, perhaps I should clarify: as a Type I diabetic female of my present age with other health risks, a pregnancy could actually fucking kill me. (I’m no obstetrician, but let’s just say I’m a little dubious that a “pregnancy” two weeks before conception poses any serious risk to my life or health…but what do I know? Not as much as the Arizona legislature does, surely!) Not that the Arizona legislature gives the tiniest shit about my life, health, or preventable death — they are all about the baybeeeeez, amirite people?
An NTD is an opening in the spinal cord or brain that occurs very early in human development. In the 3rd week of pregnancy called gastrulation, specialized cells on the dorsal side of the fetus begin to fuse and form the neural tube. When the neural tube does not close completely, an NTD develops.
Gosh, that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Oh wait:
Anencephaly (without brain) is a neural tube defect that occurs when the head end of the neural tube fails to close, usually during the 23rd and 26th days of pregnancy, resulting in an absence of a major portion of the brain and skull. Infants born with this condition are born without the main part of the forebrain-the largest part of the cerebrum. Infants born with this condition are usually blind, deaf and unconscious. The lack of a functioning cerebrum will ensure that the infant will never gain consciousness. Infants are either stillborn or usually die within a few hours or days after birth.
Encephaloceles are often accompanied by craniofacial abnormalities or other brain malformations. Symptoms may include neurologic problems, hydrocephalus (cerebrospinal fluid accumulated in the brain), spastic quadriplegia (paralysis of the limbs), microcephaly (an abnormally small head), ataxia (uncoordinated muscle movement), developmental delay, vision problems, mental and growth retardation, and seizures.
Hydranencephaly is a condition in which the cerebral hemispheres are missing and instead filled with sacs of cerebrospinal fluid… The prognosis for children with hydranencephaly is generally quite poor. Death usually occurs in the first year of life.
Iniencephaly is a rare neural tube defect that results in extreme bending of the head to the spine. The diagnosis can usually be made on antenatal ultrasound scanning but if not will undoubtedly be made immediately after birth because the head is bent backwards and the face looks upwards. Usually the neck is absent. The skin of the face connects directly to the chest and the scalp connect to the upper back. The infant usually will not survive more than a few hours.
Assuming that I wanted to have a child — which I certainly do not — it’s a good thing that I would never have to carry such a pregnancy to term: according to NIH, the optimal time for NTD screening is 16–18 weeks’ gestation, although screening can be done between 15 and 20 weeks. In Arizona, of course, I would need to screen as early as possible at 15 weeks, because if the results were unfortunately devastating, all abortions are outlawed after 18 weeks. So at least I would conceivably have a small window of time to screen for NPD, get the results back, and then make my decision. Or, you know, not:
The other two bills passed by the House include the state’s “wrongful birth, wrongful life” bill that prohibits lawsuits against doctors who do not provide information about a fetus’ health if that information could lead to an abortion. In addition, parents cannot sue on the child’s behalf after birth.
Right. So, if unbeknownst to me, my doctor is a General in the Forced Birth Brigades, she or he can just skip over that part where I get to hear the results of that NTD screening. Assuming I survive my pregnancy (hahaha!), what about the expense of all the medical care necessary to ease the suffering of my doomed infant, from hours to days to weeks to months to maybe even a year if we’re “lucky” — or if we’re really “lucky” and my offspring “only” has Encephaloceles — life-long care for brain malformations, paralysis, mental retardation and/or seizures? Well, it seems none of that would be recoverable from my lying, woman-hating doctor (nor, presumably, would I be able to recover expenses from the lying, woman-hating State of Arizona).*
The third bill requires that schools teach students that adoption and birth are the most acceptable outcomes for an unwanted pregnancy.
Most acceptable to whom? Who, exactly, is going to adopt my fatally afflicted infant? One with craniofacial abnormalities or other brain malformations? Paralysis? Mental and growth retardation? Seizures? Any takers?
Well, I guess we’ll all just have to try harder to make sure the message gets through to those indoctrinated Arizona kids that there is absolutely nothing “unacceptable” about the early termination of an unwanted pregnancy. What’s unacceptable is forced or coerced pregnancy and childbirth. Perhaps something along the lines of the “It Gets Better” campaign is in order? You know: “I’m so happy I had that abortion, ’cause baby, look at me now!” (See also: I’mnotsorry.net)
All three bills are now headed to Brewer’s desk for her review. The governor has not announced a position on the bills, which is her practice, but her spokesman indicated that Brewer has a long commitment to pro-life issues.
Just for future reference, what exactly is the proper etiquette here? Is it appropriate to throw someone a baby shower the week before conception? Wait — you guys are all planning a surprise shower for me right now, aren’t you? OMG I just knew it!
Keep it up, conservative @$$holes. Your true colors are showing, and they are hideous. On behalf of all those who suffer from your vicious hatred and unfathomable cruelty:
FUCK YOU, CONSERVATIVES.
*Not that the medical costs would be a factor in my own decision to terminate — in my fortunate (health-insured) case, the pointless suffering of my offspring would trump all monetary considerations. (Oh, and perhaps my death might factor in there, somewhere…) I wish to point out that there are non-hypothetical women in Arizona who will be made permanently destitute trying to ease the suffering of their own child afflicted with NTD. Is this a great country, or what? In some ways yes, but in other ways no. No, it is not. Not until it has a single-payer healthcare system, i.e. Medicare for all, like every other advanced civilization on the planet. One that covers birth control and abortion on demand.