Arizona passes uterus-bogglingly bad abortion ban

Yesterday, the Arizona House passed a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks. It now heads to the desk of Governor Jan Brewer. Brewer has five days to veto it, or else it will become law.

According to the Arizona Republic:

The bill would make numerous changes to abortion laws, including banning abortions after 20 weeks except in a “medical emergency,” allowing doctors to prescribe medication abortion pills only through the seventh week of pregnancy and requiring clinics to perform an ultrasound 24 hours before an abortion instead of the current requirement of an hour before.

It also would set up several new requirements. Clinics must post signs saying it is against the law to coerce a woman into having an abortion, physicians must provide additional information about health risks and the state must create a website with abortion health risks, contact information for adoption agencies and photos or drawings of developing fetuses.

This makes Arizona the sixth state to enact a 20-week abortion ban (welcome to the world’s shittiest club! Your fellow members include Alabama, Idao, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina and Oklahoma!).

But, as Kate Sheppard at MoJo points out, it’s really a ban at 18 weeks, since Arizona’s law declares that life begins at the end of your last period, not at conception. Sheppard goes on to lay out just how bad this bill is:

Under this law, if a doctor performs an abortion after that 18-weeks, he or she can be charged with a crime, have his or her license revoked or suspended, and can be held liable for civil penalties if the father of the fetus decides to pursue legal action. The bill also requires a mandatory ultrasound for anyone seeking an abortion at any stage of pregnancy (hello, transvaginal probes) and mandates that a doctor offer to show a pregnant woman the ultrasound, describe it to her verbally and provide her with a photo of “the unborn child.” It would also require a woman to wait 24 hours after the ultrasound before she can obtain an abortion.

But yeah, you’re totally right, Nikki Haley and Reince Priebus, there’s no war on women. This has absolutely nothing to do with taking away women’s rights. I don’t know why you’d look at a law that requires doctors to emotionally manipulate women, allows a man to sue a woman for getting an abortion, and makes a woman give birth to a fetus that has no chance of living and think that it’s about taking away women’s rights. It’s about the value of every human life. As long as that human is less than 20 weeks old and swimming in amniotic fluid.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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