A New York Times editorial is calling on a federal judge to block an abortion ban recently passed in Arizona. The Center for Reproductive Rights filed suit against the ban earlier in July, arguing that the law is blatantly unconstitutional and callously disregards the complicated and very difficult circumstances many pregnant women face.
The law bans abortion earlier than similar laws recently enacted in the country and at a critical time when most women undergo prenatal testing to evaluate their own health and the status of the pregnancy. To make matters worse, it also contains zero exceptions for a pregnant woman’s life or health unless she is in an extreme emergency.
We recently sat down with a woman in Arizona who told us that she was diagnosed with a fatal fetal abnormality right at the time in pregnancy that this ban covers. If she had received this diagnosis when this law was in effect, she would’ve been forced to carry a pregnancy to term and potentially watch her baby die.
Proponents of the law claim that the law is a product of concern for women’s health. But as The Times point out, it’s more likely a political ploy—and the resulting harm to women cannot be understated:
It denies a fundamental right to all Arizona women and puts in danger those who might want to carry a wanted but complicated pregnancy to term. The overwhelming number of abortions occur well before 20 weeks, later abortions mostly often involve severely troubled pregnancies that pose risks to a woman’s health or life.
A woman can develop life- or health-threatening medical problems late in her pregnancy. And because fetal abnormalities often cannot be diagnosed before 20 weeks, the new laws may leave women feeling rushed to have abortions before then. Or, if they miss that window, they may be forced to wait out a dangerous pregnancy or to deliver a child who will quickly die.