April 14, 2012 in The World Today
For about a year now, I have been hesitant to admit that I am a native Arizonan. Don’t get me wrong, I love the desert (yes, even in summer). I think that living in the crossroads of Mexican and American cultures is pretty amazing. Tucson isn’t so bad.
But the Arizona state government has made some recent decisions and laws that have made me less enthused and more embarrassed to call myself an Arizonan. Yesterday further cemented this shame and, in fact, incited intense frustration from Arizonans and other Americans alike.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed a new bill on abortion. This new piece of legislation effectively re-defines the time at which life begins. According to the bill, pregnancy begins two weeks before conception, on the first day of the mother’s last menstrual period, before it is scientifically possible for conception. The bill makes abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy illegal (except in extreme medical cases, which weren’t specified). Seven other states have similar legislation.
The Republican proponents of the legislation argue that this affects a small percentage of pregnancies; critics say that a 20-week deadline would “likely prevent timely diagnosis of anomalies in a fetus.” Governor Jan Brewer has even stated that this law would be a step towards “protecting women.” While some medical basis for this statement is present, I find that the definition of conception prior to any sexual encounter is ludicrous—yet again, the Arizona legislature is affecting a woman’s right to choose.
In a similar sphere of laws, the Arizona Senate is likely to approve a bill that would eliminate state-administered federal funding for non-abortion services from Planned Parenthood. Essentially, thousands of low-income women would lose access to preventative care if this bill were signed into law. The state claims that funding organizations that administer abortions or support abortion is in direct violation of taxpayer’s desires, even if this funding is federal and thus not directly funded by the state (Arizona has already banned using state tax money to fund abortions).
I am concerned that the state considers the preventative care benefits offered by Planned Parenthood and other organizations to not improve women’s health—women in rural areas who have little access to birth control would be the most affected by this law. If the state considered women’s health to be the primary motive in implementing these sweeping anti-abortion bills, the outcomes would be vastly different.This post reflects the author’s personal opinions, not the opinions of Arizona Model United Nations.