Arizona has passed a law that says pregnancy can begin two weeks before a child has been conceived, news sources report.
The bill changes the system that determines the age of a fetus, using the date of the woman's last period rather than the date of conception. The bill also bans all abortions after 20 weeks, or 18 weeks using the old system, except in the case of medical emergency, the Huffington Post reported.
The mandate will affect a relatively small number of abortions in the state -- only about 2 percent, according to the group behind the bill -- but the measure includes other aspects placing additional requirements on doctors, abortion clinics, and the state's health department, Reuters reported.
Such restrictions include requiring women to have ultrasounds at least 24 hours prior to receiving an abortion, forcing women considering abortion because of fetal abnormalities to undergo counseling, requiring clinics to post signs warning against abortion coercion, requiring doctors and the state's health department to provide additional information about abortion's risks, mandating a state-run website with adoption information and images of developing fetuses, and requiring school districts to promote parenthood or adoption as more acceptable than abortion, according to Reuters.
Those opposed to the bill see the new mandate as another blow to reproductive rights. The Center for Reproductive Rights' state advocacy counsel, Jordan Goldberg said the new law "disregards women's health," according to the Huffington Post.
"The women of Arizona can't access medical treatment that other women can," the Huffington Post quoted her as saying to the Daily Beast.
Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed the bill into law Thursday, saying it would "safeguard our most vulnerable population-the unborn," according to the Huffington Post.