PHOENIX — Arizona's ban on abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy is poised to take effect this week as scheduled after a federal judge ruled Monday that the new law is constitutional.Of course, the pro-choice side will appeal the ruling, because apparently anything that keeps a mother from ordering her child killed up to the moment when the child's head emerges from the mother's birth canal is an infringement on women's freedom.
U.S. District Judge James Teilborg said the statute may prompt a few pregnant women who are considering abortion to make the decision earlier. But he said the law is constitutional because it doesn't prohibit any women from making the decision to end their pregnancies.
The judge also wrote that the state provided "substantial and well-documented" evidence that an unborn child has the capacity to feel pain during an abortion by at least 20 weeks.
Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed the measure into law in April, making Arizona one of 10 states to enact types of 20-week bans.
Arizona's ban, set to take effect Thursday, prohibits abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy except in medical emergencies. That is a change from the state's current ban at viability, which is the ability to survive outside the womb and which generally is considered to be about 24 weeks. A normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks.
It's getting harder and harder for pro-choice people to make that argument, though. Which is why I absolutely love this new pro-life initiative (and which I've seen on several sites today so I can't offer a specific hat tip except to say: keep sharing this one, everybody!): One Tiny Life, a new pro-life effort by an artist who sculpted that beautiful resin model, above, of a typical unborn human fetus at 12 weeks of gestation. The artist is selling copies of the model at a very reasonable price to aid in pro-life ministries; be sure to visit her page to see the careful way she used scientific images and even a heartbreaking picture of a 12-week miscarried baby to create the lovely model linked to above.
My question is: why should it be legal to kill a tiny baby that age, 12 weeks, and then illegal to kill her eight weeks later?
Pro-choice people say it should be legal to kill the 20-week old fetus exactly like it is legal to kill the 12 week one because neither one can, as yet, survive on her own outside the womb. Some three or four weeks later, at 23 or 24 weeks, the fetus might survive, but even then some pro-choice people think her mom should get to kill her for any reason at all. Other pro-choice people say no, at viability mom should only get to kill the fetus if the fetus is handicapped (which leads to the question: should it then be legal to kill handicapped newborns, especially if the handicap wasn't discovered until birth? Or is it only legal to kill people when they're still living in the mother's womb, whether they are viable or not?).
But as a pro-life person, I can't imagine thinking it's fine to kill a fetus the age of that resin model at all. She's clearly human, even if she's a small pre-born human who still needs her mother in order to breathe. And her mother has already had three months--twelve weeks--to decide to kill her; just how long a time should the mother get to spend in the death sentence hearing phase of pregnancy, anyway?
I sincerely hope that the Arizona ban on abortions after 20 weeks will continue to stand, and that one day soon that ban will stretch down to 12 weeks, and then perhaps to 10...
Pro-life Americans may one day have to target our efforts on convincing women in earlier stages of pregnancy not to kill their little ones, but that would be okay if more and more unborn children are protected by the law from the deadly whims and hostile wombs of their mothers.