[…] Sadly, religious instruction isn’t much help: between telling women that an aspirin between the knees or a phonebook on a man’s lap will prevent pregnancy, it’s perhaps unsurprising that strict adherents to a religion in which a primary article of faith is that a woman was impregnated without the benefit of vaginal penetration or male ejaculate have a few problems fully articulating how modern women can get (or keep from getting) pregnant without a little confusion … or at least elision.
And so it is that we American women find ourselves being told by legislators in Arizona – those benighted do-gooders behind the anti-Latino “show us your papers” law and the anti-Obama “show us your circumcision” – that, in fact, pregnancy will no longer begin at conception. Instead, we’re told, we’ll soon be legally considered pregnant in the state of Arizona as of the date of our last period, which, as that silly godless “science” tells us, is usually about two weeks before we ovulate. It is true that some medical professionals use a pregnant woman’s last period to estimate a gestational age in the absence of other data – like the actual date of conception which is, when one is not the Virgin Mary, actually not beyond a woman’s capacity to know or recall or a doctor’s capacity to determine. But a legal mandate forcing them to even when other diagnostic tools are more available or appropriate is simply a way to reduce their scientific and professional discretion for the purpose of limiting abortions in ways unimagined by the standards of Roe v Wade and in a manner that is not based on the way women’s supposedly unknowable reproductive tracts work.
— Megan Carpentier takes down the Arizona law pushing for women to be legally considered pregnant as of the date of their last period