Arizona Bill Says Pregnancy Begins During Last Menstrual Period Before Conception

A new bill up for a vote in Arizona could mandate that pregnancy be considered to have started up to two weeks before conception may have actually occurred. The nuance was introduced on the eighth page of H.B. 2036, a piece of legislation that seeks to modify the amount of time a woman has to legally get an abortion by using the woman’s last menstrual cycle as a means of defining the beginning of what is being called the “gestational age.” ‘Gestational age’ means the age of the unborn child as calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman,” the document reads.

My understanding is that this laughably absurd bill passed and was signed into law earlier this year. Women: all pregnant, all the time. :rolleyes:

I am not sure what is so absurd about it. I guess it does seem so unless you have ever been pregnant and gone to all your prenatal visits and they call you 5 weeks along by asking for the date of your last menstrual period and finding your due date and gestational age on their little wheel. This is indeed how regular OB doctors measure gestational age -ie the age of the fetus. I don’t know why they do it, but it makes sense to put the definition in the bill if you are going to have a gestational age cut off for abortions. Most(all) OBs measure gestational age this way, but it would be unheard of for abortion proponents to change definitions to allow for more (and in this case later) abortions. Sort of like how they redefined the start of pregnancy as implantation in order to not have to claim that certain drugs are abortifacient.

Interesting that every MD uses the date of the last menstrual period as the date for the birth of new life…ponder that!

That is the date doctors use to calculate the term of the pregnancy. Full term is 40 weeks pregnant, counting from the first day of your last menstrual cycle. No big deal.:shrug:

Some may think the bill is laughable but remines me of my mother’s tell my grandfather that she was expeting his fifth grandchild, he just commited that he alread know it! :D:D

Huh? Life begins at conception.

100% Catholic truth!

Yes, life does begin at conception, but it takes everything that has happened in the prior two weeks to get ready for this new life. Which, as many other posters have pointed out, is why OB’s start counting your pregnancy from the date of the last menstual cycle before conception.

Correct, but without specific testing (or very accurate NFP charts), that is a hard date to pin down. OB doctors have traditionally used the date of the last menstrual cycle as the date to begin their calculations because it is a specific date that every woman can tell.

If you started menstruating, you weren’t pregnant before that date. The conception (therefore pregnancy) started sometime after that date. Usually not the next day, but possibly even before the woman would say her period is over.

Federal court upholds Arizona’s late-term abortion law

From Medline:Gestational age

Gestational age is the common term used during pregnancy to describe how far along the pregnancy is. It is measured in weeks, from the first day of the woman’s last menstrual cycle to the current date. A normal pregnancy can range from 38 to 42 weeks.

Infants born before 37 weeks are considered premature. Infants born after 42 weeks are considered postmature.
From the American Pregnancy Association:Gestational age, or the age of the baby, is calculated from the first day of the mother’s last menstrual period. Since the exact date of conception is almost never known, the first day of the last menstrual period is used to measure how old the baby is.
From the University of Maryland Medical Center:Gestational age is the time measured from the first day of the woman’s last menstrual cycle to the current date. It is measured in weeks. A normal pregnancy can range from 38 to 42 weeks.

From Arizona HB 2036:“Gestational age” means the age of the unborn child as calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman.
From the National Abortion Rights Action League / Planned Parenthood press release (oh, excuse me, the CBS Las Vegas piece):A new bill up for a vote in Arizona could mandate that pregnancy be considered to have started up to two weeks before conception may have actually occurred.

The nuance was introduced on the eighth page of H.B. 2036, a piece of legislation that seeks to modify the amount of time a woman has to legally get an abortion by using the woman’s last menstrual cycle as a means of defining the beginning of what is being called the “gestational age.”

“‘Gestational age’ means the age of the unborn child as calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman,” the document reads.
The embarrassment could have been avoided had CBS Las Vegas bothered to check with an obstetrician. Or they could have just googled the term “gestational age.”

Of course, that would take a little bit of work. And we shouldn’t expect *that *(at least when it comes to the sacrament of liberalism).

Best, and most specific, post on the thread. :thumbsup:

The law isn’t absurd, at all. The “up to two weeks” comment in the article is absurd. They can’t pinpoint the date of conception, so that comment and The OP’s hilarity are based on ignorance. Anyone who has had a child knows this.

Last menstrual period is used to calculate the duration of pregnancy retrospectively - not prospectively. A woman cannot be considered pregnant simply because she hasn’t had a period since the previous one. There a several reasons for a missed period.

No, that’s not the reason. The reason is because they do not have a video camera in every woman’s reproductive system, so when a woman becomes pregnant they use the last period to estimate the date her baby is due, based on the date of her last period. The accuracy of that estimation is affected by the regularity of her periods, so it is also not infallible.

:shrug: are you referring to my claim that people redefined pregnancy to the start of implantation instead of conception for the purpose of contraceptives? Which is true, and yes you can only retrospectively date a pregnancy. I had a OB/CNM tell me she couldn’t even consider me pregnant (despite a positive pregnancy test, a missed period) without an internal exam. So yes, you first must confirm a pregnancy before you can date it. :shrug:

The OP said this definition was laughable. Turns out it was not so laughable after all.

Gestational age is not the same thing as conceptional age. Conceptional age is how much time has passed since actual conception1 (fertilization). Conception cannot take place until you ovulate, and that typically happens about 14 days after the start of your monthly period.

So conceptional age will always be about 14 days younger than gestational age. The average length of a full-term pregnancy is about 280 days, or 40 gestational weeks from the first day of the last period. The average length of a full-term pregnancy from the time of conception is about 266 days or 38 conceptional weeks from the day of conception.

source: scdhec.gov/health/mch/wcs/calculating-gestational-age.asp

So gestational age can include the period of time before conception, which was always how I understood when a new individual life began.
Now I understand the Arizona law wants to limit the amount of time that a woman can legally get an abortion…but how can a woman be pregnant if conception never occurs or hasn’t occurred yet?

Okay, I’ll bite. How do you determine the exact date of conception?

Sigh, as it has already been discussed, you must first confirm a pregnancy before you date it. Every OB dates a pregnancy by a woman’s last menstrual period. (Unless you have a NFP doc who will actually take into account your peak day, but most docs laugh at you when you say you can pinpoint ovulation within a day or 2). Even when you get ultrasounds done, they date your pregnancy by size but use the same convention. So if the ultrasound dates you at 7 weeks, you are actually approximately 5 weeks since conception.

Okay, I’ll bite. How do you determine the exact date of conception?

I’m guessing the answer is that you can’t. If that’s the case, then why is there a conceptional age? Are the lawmakers in Arizona (the link was from South Carolina in case anyone was confused or mistaken) assuming that conception probably occurred sometime during or after the last menstrual period?

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