What 6 weeks pregnant actually means is not what many people think it means
You’re six weeks pregnant. That means six weeks ago an egg and a sperm met, did the happy dance together, and got the baby ball rolling in your uterus, right?
Pregnancy weeks are measured in a strange way, but it appears to be the most consistent method of measurement considering the varied reality of menstruation. (A 28-day cycle between periods is common, but many women have longer or shorter cycles, and some have totally irregular ones.)
A Twitter thread from NBC News’s Ginger Gibson explains that pregnancy is measured from the first day of a woman’s last period, which is generally approximately two weeks before an egg would ever get a chance to meet a sperm.
So technically speaking, in the first couple of weeks of pregnancy, there is no actual pregnancy. Weird, right? But that’s how the “XX weeks pregnant” calculation works.
Three weeks is generally the earliest that the actual pregnancy (meaning a fertilized egg being implanted in the uterus) would exist, pregnancy is measured retroactively to the first day of the last period.
And at three weeks, you wouldn’t know you were pregnant. Neither would an at-home pregnancy test.
At four weeks, you might notice your period is late. Then again, you might not, because some people bleed even when they’re pregnant. Also, periods can be few days late or irregular for a whole host of reasons.
At this point, a pregnancy test might tell you you’re pregnant.
That gives someone a two week window from when they may realize they’re pregnant to when they could no longer get a… https://t.co/EzM3KVSJ8Z
— Ginger Gibson (@GingerGibson)
However, a 2018 study found that the average woman in the U.S. detects pregnancy at 5.5 weeks, and many don’t know they’re pregnant until after six weeks. Texas’s abortion ban would maybe give people two weeks after finding out they’re pregnant to make a decision, but likely much less time.
So Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s assertion that the law “provides at least 6 weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion” (in response to a question asking why he would force a victim of rape or incest to carry a pregnancy that stems from sexual assault) is categorically false. You can’t make a decision about something you don’t even know exists, and it’s virtually impossible for the average person to know they are pregnant until they are already at least four weeks along.
What’s stunning is that this is just *one* *very basic* misunderstanding of how pregnancy works among a host of others that have been shared by people who are hot on legislating pregnancy. If someone misunderstands the basics this badly, what business do they have making laws about it?
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