Judith Lewis Mernit

Judith Lewis Mernit is a contributing editor at High Country News. She has written for The Atlantic, Los Angeles Times, Audubon, Sierra, and Mother Jones, among other publications.

Recent Articles

The Pro-Life Paradox

Why are anti-abortion legislators cutting essential funds for special-needs children? 

(Celia Johnson)
O n April 12, Governor Jan Brewer signed a bill making Arizona the eighth state in the union to ban abortions beyond 20 weeks. Like most other laws of its kind, House Bill 2036 had been camouflaged as a measure against suffering, predicated on the notion that a fetus at 20 weeks can feel pain. Every woman who’s ever been pregnant, however, knows what the law really means: Twenty weeks marks a crucial point in a pregnancy, when fetal abnormalities can be detected, often for the first time. Many women confronted with a grim prenatal diagnosis choose to have an abortion. Now, in Arizona, they can’t. As the latest maneuver to undermine the protections of Roe v. Wade , the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion until at least 24 weeks, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child” model has been gaining popularity. Nebraska was the first state to pass such a law in 2010; Idaho, Iowa, Alabama, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Kansas followed, as did Georgia in March (though lawmakers there agreed...