• The Art of Immaculate Conception.

    Most people know the story of how Jesus, the Son of God, came into being. One of the more interesting aspects of the story (and one that's also a big part of the Catholic faith) is the immaculate conception of Mary, precipitated by the appearance of the angel Gabriel, his message of Jesus' impending birth through Mary and the intervention of the Holy Spirit afterwards. Considering Joseph was a husband-to-be and the lovely couple didn't subscribe to the whole concept of sex before marriage, this event of immaculate conception remains one of the most intriguing episodes throughout Jesus' life, death and resurrection:*

    29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

    34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

    35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

    38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
    Since then, the laws of physics and biology have put the kibosh on any future acts of immaculate conception. But the Arizona state legislature stumbled up on a way to rekindle that long-lost act through the power of bill-making:

    Arizona’s HB 2036 takes Nebraska’s 20-week abortion ban one step further by starting the clock on pregnancies at the woman’s last last menstrual period, which could be two weeks before fertilization.

    Specifically, the bill would “[p]rohibit abortions at or after twenty weeks of gestation, except in cases of a medical emergency, based on the documented risks to women’s health and the strong medical evidence that unborn children feel pain during an abortion at that gestational age,” where gestational age is defined as “age of the unborn child as calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman.”

    Take note of the underlined. The entire menstrual cycle lasts for about 28 days. The luteal phase, where the corpus luteum develops and subsequently atrophies sans fertilization of the egg, lasts up to 16 days.

    In effect, this means that if a woman has sex with someone, she could technically be pregnant weeks before the pregnancy test, morning sickness or tell-tale lack of a period gives her the official heads-up. Not exactly immaculate conception, but they're getting there. It's more like "pre-pregnancy," where the state knows you're pregnant long before you decide to become pregnant. Or something.

    More importantly, this means that if she decides, on the 19th or 20th week of gestation to abort, she'll technically be in violation of the abortion ban, because the window of opportunity slammed shut on the 18th week:
    Guttmacher Institute’s State Issues Manager Elizabeth Nash told Raw Story that obstetricians start the clock on pregnancies after the “last menstrual period” to “be on the safe side.”

    “Certainly, they are trying move the gestational cutoff from what had been over the last two years a 20-week gestational cutoff to an 18-week gestational cutoff,” Nash explained. “At the same time, they are trying to say, ‘Oh, this is a 20-week abortion ban.’ And they get away with that with the definition of gestational age that’s in the bill.”
    Determining the gestation date this way is a rather creative and supremely sneaky goalpost move. Which means it serves conservative pro-lifers and their GOP counterparts well. Selling a 20-week abortion ban that actually kicks in two weeks earlier than anyone expects constitutes fraud and deception on part of bill's supporters, not that it matters much.

    At some point, someone's gonna have the bright idea of suggesting that the pro-life anti-abortion contingent should just assume that all woman are presumed pregnant until actually pregnant, to eliminate all possibility of legal or illegal abortive acts. Of course, that'd also include hormonal contraceptives, since they prevent ovulation and fertilization. In short, basically anything that interferes with ovulation and fertilization. At that point, you'd have to wonder if that would include the entirely natural act of corpus luteum discharge.

    Is a tampon or a sanitary napkin admissible as evidence of an abortion? Would birth control pills signify intent? How about someone experiencing a miscarriage?

    Meanwhile, semen discharge from masturbation or wet dreams is largely overlooked. What? You seriously think the menfolk would willingly legislate their own reproductive faculties?**

    *If you believe otherwise, fine. Don't try to take a chunk out of my ass over it, thanks.

    **Nevermind the cases of surgical and chemical castration for sex offenders and black males with "virulent" perceived sexual appetites.