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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Dumb abortion laws carry lessons

So, here’s the thing about abortion: It’s not proven to be reversible. Anyone who claims otherwise is either misinformed, lying or legally obligated to tell you so.

When Gov. Doug Ducey signed Senate Bill 1318 into law on March 30, Arizona became the only state in the nation to require that doctors tell their patients, “It may be possible to reverse the effects of a medication abortion.”

The Arizona Legislature passed S.B. 1318 over the objections of medical professionals who argued that the statute lacks scientific evidence to back it up. In a series of recent press releases and interviews, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists blasted the new law as dangerous and medically unsound. Women’s health organizations such as Planned Parenthood also oppose S.B. 1318 on the grounds that it forces physicians to practice bad medicine.

I could delve into the “junk science” behind S.B. 1318 and explain why it is ridiculous to suggest a drug-induced abortion is reversible, but I have nothing new to add to the conversation. Google “reversible abortions,” and you will find that the study used to support the claims in S.B. 1318 has already been thoroughly discredited.

So, why continue to beat a dead horse?

First, because the idea that the Legislature can control how a doctor advises a patient is scary enough to merit a feature-length film and 12 encyclopedias. When we visit the doctor, we expect that they will treat us with professional expertise. We expect we will receive care from a person who has spent years accumulating credible knowledge about health and medicine, not from a person who was elected to office.

Last time I checked, Ducey still hasn’t earned his M.D. degree.

If we wouldn’t trust the Arizona Legislature to advise us about heart disease or lung cancer, we shouldn’t trust it as an authority on women’s health.

Secondly, it is important to hold the supposed “moderates” in the Arizona Legislature responsible for their actions. Though bills like S.B. 1318 are proposed by extremists such as Cathi Herrod and sponsored by staunchly conservative legislators, they are made possible by the so-called moderate Republicans who vote against the most egregious bills and quietly support the crazy-but-less-crazy ones.

It’s time to stop patting Adam Driggs on the back when he votes to expand Medicaid or ban guns in public buildings. As long as voters continue to elect hard-line ideologues under the pretense that they will act sensibly, Arizona will remain the favorite punch line of “The Daily Show.”

Finally, S.B. 1318 reflects what the controversy over abortion really boils down to: power, authority and control over women. It is easy to forget that women have had the right to vote for less than 100 years. Equal pay for equal work did not become law until 1963, and Title IX was not passed until 1972.

True, we live in 2015. But we live in a country that has a well-documented history of exerting its power over women, and to suggest that this history is not the root cause of abortion law is to ignore reality entirely.

S.B. 1318, a bill that lacks empirical justification and tarnishes the sacred doctor-patient relationship, serves no purpose other than to strengthen the Legislature’s control over women and their bodies. It needs to be repealed.


Elizabeth Hannah is biochemistry sophomore. Follow her on Twitter.

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