Building on the “brains” part of my earlier post, one of the issues that I find so striking is the meaningless of a ban at six weeks and what this reveals about the lack of knowledge of the world.
I can imagine a hypothetical reasonable person who thinks about a six-week abortion ban and says, “six weeks…that’s plenty of time to realize you’re pregnant, decide what to do, and then have an abortion if you want.”
But, of course, people don’t know they might be pregnant on day 1. Pregnancy is measured from the last menstrual period, and it’s a missed period that may be the sign of pregnancy. So, that’s four weeks in.
“Okay,” my hypothetical reasonable person says to themselves, “that still leaves two weeks to think about what to do and get an abortion.”
But most people don’t discover they’re pregnant until 4 to 7 weeks. For many women, under completely normal circumstances, six weeks will pass before they even try to determine if they are pregnant.
Some women may not keep track of the time between their periods, especially if their periods don’t happen in a precise 4-week cycle. On average, a woman gets her period every 24 to 38 days (38 days happens to be just short of 6 weeks). Irregular periods are particularly common for younger women, or women who have recently stopped using the pill.
“Gee, so maybe six weeks doesn’t actually mean a lot for many people who might get pregnant, but I’m going to ignore that and believe that women will know at four weeks,” goes my ever less reasonable hypothetical person. “So they can still go get an abortion.”
If only it were that easy. Because of restrictive and unnecessary state laws, someone seeking an abortion may need multiple trips to obtain an abortion. There are 27 states that require a waiting period between counseling and an abortion; 14 states require that counseling be in-person and be separated from the actual abortion, necessitating two separate trips.
And those trips may be to a distant facility, because TRAP laws and other pressures have resulted in the closing significant numbers of abortion facilities. Kentucky went from 9 clinics to 1; Louisiana went from 17 to 3; Ohio went from 45 to 10.
So, for many, a six-week abortion ban is as good a complete ban. In order for this not to be true, depending on where one lives, they must:
- Realize they’re pregnant
- Determine what to do, often in consultation with loved ones
- Get the resources to pay for the abortion as well as the travel to a perhaps distant facility
- Take time off work, perhaps twice
- Travel twice, or stay overnight
- Actually have the abortion
Of course, it could all be a cynical ploy to appear to do something other than a total ban while not explicitly labeling it so.