Arizona Government Designs Website To Manipulate Women Out Of Having Abortions

The new state-sponsored website's depiction of a fetus at 10 weeks

Even though part of Arizona’s restrictive abortion ban is currently being blocked from taking effect while it is considered in court, state officials are moving forward with implementing other parts of the law — including launching a misleading website designed to encourage women to reconsider their decision to have an abortion.

The GOP lawmaker who sponsored the legislation, Rep. Kimberly Yee (R-Phoenix), is upfront about her intentions for the site required under her new law. According to the Arizona Daily Sun, she has “acknowledged she believes that the site will convince some women considering an abortion not to go through with it.”

The new section of Arizona’s Department of Health Services site is framed as presenting the information that women have “the right to know” before opting to have an abortion. Links offer resources that repeatedly warn about the potential dangers of electing to have an abortion, including separate sections about “making an informed decision,” the “medical risks of abortion,” the “mortality risks of abortion,” and the medical side effects and emotional damage that may occur “after an abortion.” Of the dozen links on the site, only one, “pregnancy and childbirth,” attempts to present the other side — but although that section does include information about the complications that can occur from carrying a pregnancy to term, it still maintains that “pregnancy and birth is usually a safe, natural process”:

Arizona’s HB 2036 already has another provision that requires any woman seeking an abortion to undergo a mandatory ultrasound, but Rep. Yee hopes that the new website will help women see even more detailed images than that ultrasound can provide. The site includes images documenting the stages of a fetus at each two-week interval, and Rep. Yee explained that “the medical drawings, which are in full color and much more detailed than any ultrasound, may give some prospective parents additional reasons to reconsider their initial decision to terminate the pregnancy.”

Pushing unbalanced information about the risks of abortion procedures is a tactic designed to pressure women to change their minds about a safe medical procedure they have already chosen for themselves. Arizona lawmakers are using HB 2036 to restrict women’s access to abortion services after just 20 weeks of pregnancy, but they aren’t stopping at simply legislating women’s health services. As Rep. Yee admits, state lawmakers are pursuing emotional manipulation as well.