I had to call a legislator last night because I couldn’t believe what I had heard. She confirmed it, the legislature passed a bill that counts weeks of pregnancy from a woman’s last menstrual period.
Yep, that would mean before conception.
One thing that amuses me is that the word “menstrual” is in there. My experience with the sort of men that pass this sort of legislation is that they think words like “menstrual” are icky. This is not a coincidence.
To be fair, doctors use this date when doing calculations about fetal development. However, the policy (not to mention political) problems with such a date are such that in other states with twenty week bans, there is language to make the date that the twenty weeks is calculated from matches up with the probable date of conception. But, our legislature, despite having the opportunity to do so, decided not to do this and kept the start at up to 14 days before conception occurs.
Of course, the “egg drop” date is about having a head on the wall. It’s so the good folks at the Center for Arizona Policy can brag that they essentially got an 18 week ban passed. Heck, it’s better than having to admit that fighting for the right to beat the hell out of gay kids was your biggest legislative victory.
Still, you gotta wonder: didn’t they realize that declaring that pregnancy starts before a woman has had sex could be a bit politically problematic? Heck, they basically wrote the NARAL press release for them.