Last week the state of Arizona launched “A Woman’s Right to Know,” a part of the Arizona Department of Health Services website that is designed to discourage women from having an abortion. The website is part of Arizona’s recent legislation to restrict access to abortion 20 weeks after a woman’s last menstrual period, or 18 weeks into gestation.
The website provides a misleading list of the potential complications of an abortion procedure, along with detailed drawings of fetal development through an entire pregnancy. The website also provides lists for adoption services and diaper banks. One section of the website addresses risks of childbirth in attempt to provide a different perspective. However, the website lists “death” as a complication of abortion (1 in 11,000 after 21 weeks) and “rarely, death” as a complication of childbirth (1 out of 6,897).
Representative Kimberly Yee (R), who sponsored the legislation, hopes the website will discourage women from seeking an abortion. According to the Arizona Daily Sun, Yee “a staunch foe of all abortions, acknowledged she believes the website will convince some women considering an abortion not to go through with it.” Yee proposed the website under the guise of providing women with the information necessary to give “informed consent.”
Arizona’s ban of abortions 20 weeks after a normal period is the most restrictive in the nation. It was challenged in court by three obstetrician-gynecologists from Arizona. After the District Court in Phoenix ruled the law constitutional, the doctors appealed to the 9th Circuit Court.
Media Resources: Arizona Daily Sun 11/26/12; ThinkProgress 11/26/12; Arizona Department of Health Services “A Woman’s Right to Know” 11/26/12; Feminist Newswire 11/5/12; Guttmacher Institute 8/2011
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