Texas abortion law and what is the real meaning of ‘6 weeks pregnant’?

Although many have described the controversial new “Texas Heart Beat Act” as a ban on abortion at six or more weeks of pregnancy, the law does not. Nor are its contraindications due to the heartbeat of the real fetus.

As of Thursday, the law is in place. Challenged by the US Department of Justice On the grounds that it violates the supremacy clause of the Constitution.

Of Texas Law Text Prevents physicians from having an abortion after detecting fetal heart activity or “permanent and recurrent contractions of the fetal heart inside the sac.” In practice, electrical conduction from a developing fetus can be detected by ultrasound at or around six weeks of gestation. The law therefore prohibits abortion at this time, even long before the fetus develops a true heartbeat.

And this week, despite Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s claim that the law “provides at least six weeks to be able to have an abortion,” that is not the case. In fact, even a woman (or transgender or non-binary person) is closely monitoring her period and will learn about her pregnancy about two weeks before the legal prohibition begins.

Here’s why: Doctors measure pregnancy as it usually lasts 40 weeks, or about 10 months, not nine months. This is because they start the clock on the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period before pregnancy, even though they are still weeks away from receiving the egg and sperm. So the first day that will be described as your “pregnancy”, you are definitely not pregnant.

Here’s a brief overview on how they spend the first six weeks on average.

Week 1: On the first day of the menstrual cycle, when the cycle begins, the uterus sheds the layer that is formed in anticipation of the last month of pregnancy.

Week 2: The body prepares to release one or more eggs through ovulation.

Week 3: In a cycle when someone gets pregnant, the sperm and egg meet earlier this week. About five to ten days later, the fertilized egg – which has now turned into an embryo consisting of several hundred cells – implants in the uterus. After that, the body begins to produce human chorionic gonadotropin, a chemical found in pregnancy tests. But it will take a few days until even the most sensitive tests can detect measurable amounts in the urine.

Week 4: If a woman is not pregnant, the end of week four – about 28 days after the first day of her period – when she starts menstruating again, and the cycle starts again. People who are actively trying to conceive often start testing around this time, perhaps a day or two before the expected period.

Most people are not trying to get pregnant every month of their lives. And many people who menstruate do not have a full 28 day cycle. The delay of a few days is not something that many people will see. Medical conditions, stress, certain types of contraception or even. A recent COVID-19 vaccination Can interfere with all menstrual periods. Some people naturally have cycles that last 30 days, or 35 days, or 40, or more.

Another complication: a little bleeding in early pregnancy is not uncommon. One can see the spots and assume that he has completed his term. It can take days, weeks or even months before she realizes it wasn’t menstrual blood. In fact, many of the early symptoms of early pregnancy – bloating, fatigue, loss of appetite, chest pain – can easily be mistaken for future symptoms.

“It is very common that people do not track their periods till date, and many people do not have regular cycles. Nisha Verma wrote in an email that people do not know that they are pregnant. Verma Darney Landy Fellow, an obstetrician-gynecologist and family planning specialist at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

So as soon as a woman finds out she is pregnant, she is technically one or two days before she is “four weeks pregnant” under Texas law. The fetus has been present for two weeks. It even helps people track their cycles up close within two weeks, if so, try to terminate the pregnancy.

For those who wish to become pregnant, calling your OB-GYN office with the news of a positive test is often a surprise: the doctor does not need to see you immediately.

“It is very common for us to wait for about eight weeks before people arrive for their first birth, unless they have specific problems such as bleeding or severe nausea and basic medical conditions. What we’re worried about is … honestly, there’s not much we can do or guess before eight weeks, “Verma wrote.

Therefore, those who want to have an abortion in Texas may need to see a doctor sooner for a routine pregnancy test.

Also, what the law defines as a “heartbeat” at six weeks of pregnancy is not a heartbeat. A real heartbeat is the sound of the cardiac valves opening and closing. At a stage where abortion is banned in Texas, the fetus is less than half an inch long – somewhere in between. The size of a pea and a raspberry. Those cardiac valves are not ready yet.

Verma said that the ultrasound technicians are listening to is actually an electrical sequence, which the machine can translate into a sound like a heartbeat.

“Those electrical impulses themselves do not make the sound of a heartbeat, nor do they suggest that the heart is now ready. This is not a particularly important part of fetal heart development, although it is an important moment for my patients.” There may be those who are connected to their pregnancy, “Dr. Verma wrote. A true heartbeat, he added, cannot be detected by ultrasound at 17 to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

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