Category Archives: Elections

Who Stands for Planned Parenthood?

The past couple years have been rough for Planned Parenthood. As Congress ushered in Health Care Reform, we have seen definite losses to women’s health care rights. In 2010, the leadership in the House of Representatives shifted to Republican and Republicans increased in number in the Senate. The very conservative Tea Party became a large voice in this new Republican Party and are outspoken opponent’s of women’s health rights.

Nationally, 89 new laws were enacted in 2010 that affect reproductive health care rights. Of these, 39 of them in 15 different states pertain to abortion. Fourteen states introduced measures to restrict insurance coverage of abortion.

In 2011, 162 new provisions were introduced and 49% of those restricted access to abortion. Five states restricted funding to family planning providers.

Arizona passed five new laws further restricting abortion that effectively required Planned Parenthood to cease abortion services at seven of its health centers. Women living in rural areas will be the most adversely affected by these new restrictions.  Continue reading

Arizona’s SB1309 Law Has Gutted Sex Education

In May of 2010, Governor Jan Brewer signed into law SB1309, the  so-called “Parental Bill of Rights.”  This bill requires parental consent before a child or teen can receive sex education in school.  This law also requires Arizona schools to notify parents when material regarding “sexuality” is presented in non-sex education classes, such as biology. Proponents of the law say this bill will ensure that the government does not intrude on parents’ child rearing.  The Arizona Board of Education says that it will be up to the local school governing boards to implement the law.

Before the passage of SB 1309, Arizona did not require sex education.  Local school boards decided which subjects this education would cover and the grade level in which topics are introduced.  If sex education was taught, it had to be age appropriate.  Abstinence had to be covered and stressed as the only effective protection against unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, and abstinence from sexual intercourse outside of lawful marriage was the expected social standard for unmarried school-age person.  This is from the 1996 Welfare Reform Act that had provisions added for abstinence education. The federal government then began to divert tens of millions of dollars to abstinence education programs.  Most programs were tied to religious programs, rather than traditional public health organizations.

Arizona is one of three states that now require parental consent for sex education.  The other two states are Utah and Nevada.  The Guttmacher Institute says 35 states – including the District of Columbia – mandate that students learn about sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS. Arizona is also ranked last in the nation in education funding.

The result?  Continue reading

Provisional Ballots – How to Avoid Them and What To Do if You Have to Vote One

The 2010 election in only a week away.  It’s time to seriously start planning what you will do next Tuesday when you get to the polls.  Will you wear a say-something hat, or simply dress casually?  Will you go to the polls before work?  Or on your way home at the end of the day?

All joking aside, there really are a few things that you need to do before you get to the polls so that you’re prepared when you get to your polling location.

Locate Your Polling Location
The most important thing to do is find your polling location. How else will you know where to go on November 2nd? Visit the Secretary of State’s website to find out where to go. Mapquest the directions if you’re unsure of how to get there.

Bring ID to the Polls
The state of Arizona requires voters to provide a government-issued form of identification, such as a driver’s license or tribal enrollment card, that bears the name, address, and photograph of the voter. You do not necessarily need to provide your voter registration card, but it never hurts to bring that along. Do not count on using a school ID, even though it has your picture on it. This will not be accepted.

Request a Provisional Ballot
In previous elections, thousands of voters were turned away at the polls for a variety of issues. As a result, Congress passed legislation requiring pollsters to provide a provisional ballot when a voter asks for one. If you have been told by a pollster that your name is not on the list of registered voters, it is your right to ask for a provisional ballot, and you absolutely should do so. Continue reading

It’s Early Ballot Time – Do You Know How to Complete Yours?

Early ballots arrived in the mail at the beginning of October, and Arizona’s voters have many choices to make this election. The number of ballot propositions may seem overwhelming, along with the list of judges and school board officials that we all have to make up our minds about. Do you know how to find the information you need to make an informed decision? And do you know how to properly fill out the early ballot? Never fear! Here are some tips to make sure that your ballot is filled out properly.

Mail In Ballot Procedures
If you’re sending in your early ballot, or your absentee ballot for that matter, make sure that you sign both of the envelopes on the indicated lines. You will need to enclose the ballot in both envelopes before you place it in the mail. Be sure that you use black ink only to fill out the ballot, and that you completely fill in the bubbles so that there is no question about which options you have selected.

Make sure that you get that ballot in the mail by Friday, October 29th, because your ballot must be received by 7pm on election day in order to be counted. If you still have your ballot on November 2nd, take the early ballot to your polling location to drop it off. You are allowed to skip the line if you are dropping off an early ballot. But do make sure that you have both of the envelopes signed and sealed when you give your ballot to the poll workers.

Ballot Propositions
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has expressed its opposition to Propositions 106, 107, and 302. You can read more about those initiatives here. For more information about the other propositions on the ballot, check out this list from the Tucson Weekly, but please keep in mind that these endorsements reflect the views of the newspaper itself, not PPAA.  Continue reading

2010 Election Spotlight: Two Standout Women Supporting Choice and Running For Arizona State Senate

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona supports Rita Dickinson for State Senate in Legislative District 11.

District 11 consists of North Central and Northeast Phoenix as well as parts of Scottsdale and Paradise Valley.

An ardent enthusiast of education, Ms. Dickinson obtained her Masters in Special Education from Northern Arizona University and has served the community’s education needs in a myriad of ways. She has worked as a Special Education teacher and administrator, has co-authored children’s science books, served as a Program Specialist for Arizona’s Department of Education, and is President and co-owner of A.M. Publishing.

Ever the advocate for women, she is also the Founding Chair for Phoenix’s Race for the Cure chapter, which has raised over $18 million to fight breast cancer since it’s inception in 1993.

Among her many pro-choice viewpoints, Ms. Dickinson has indicated strong support for Roe v. Wade and the right of women to choose abortion, medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education in schools, mandating that all pharmacies must dispense emergency contraception and other forms of birth control, and health insurance coverage for contraception.

To get involved with Rita Dickinson’s campaign or to make a contribution, please visit her website. Continue reading

Fight Anti-Choice Extremism in Southern AZ

Opponents of choice and reproductive rights are always ready with inflammatory statements and divisive rhetoric, but there’s one candidate who’s taking her extremism to a new level. Ruth McClung, who’s challenging long-time progressive champion Congressman Raúl Grijalva, told a community forum a few weeks ago that she can’t support a local job training program because it has “extensive ties” to Planned Parenthood, and as someone who’s “extremely pro-life,” she just has too many concerns. Click here to watch a video of Ruth McClung in her own words.

The program is called JobPath, and it’s modeled on the extremely successful Project Quest in San Antonio. JobPath has been training workers for the Pima County area for more than 20 years, and it’s roundly hailed as a boon to the local economy. Ruth McClung is opposing job training in Southern Arizona because she’s too anti-choice. (No wonder Sarah Palin endorsed McClung a few days ago.) It’s a strange position, even in this strange election year.   Continue reading

10 Things Every Woman Should Know About John McCain

John McCain has been Arizona’s senator for 25 years. Here’s what John McCain has said and done over the course of his time in the senate in regards to women’s health.

1. John McCain opposes equal pay legislation, saying it wouldn’t do “anything to help the rights of women.”

2. John McCain opposes legislation requiring health care plans to cover prescription birth control.

3. John McCain opposes comprehensive, medically accurate sex education.

4. John McCain opposes common sense funding to prevent unintended and teen pregnancies.

5. John McCain opposes funding for public education about emergency contraception. Continue reading

Jan Brewer Slashes Funding for Women’s Health Care

We cannot catch a break with Jan Brewer!  Her hits just keep coming!   Earlier this month we shared The 10 Things Everyone Should Know About Jan Brewer.  Well, the list continues to grow.  Last week we found out that her AHCCCS funding cuts are having far-reaching negative consequences beyond denying transplant patients lifesaving care; the cuts also eliminate well-woman care, including the vital cancer prevention care and birth control access provided to women through an annual gynecological exam.

Planned Parenthood and all medical providers who accept AHCCCS are wondering how we will serve our patients so we can help women stay healthy and assist in early detection of cancers like cervical cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.  This decision will also cost Arizona an additional $15 million of federal Medicaid funding as a direct result of the elimination of these vital services.

Thanks to Jan Brewer and a majority of state legislators, low income women in Arizona can no longer receive these services! Women make up 70 percent of adults on the Medicaid program – that is more than 900,000 Arizona women who can longer access this care.  Essentially, Jan Brewer and many in the legislature have cut out prevention care for low-income women. Check out what Planned Parenthood Arizona CEO Bryan Howard told the Public Service News about the funding cuts:

Howard says a typical well-woman exam costs around $120, making it unaffordable for most AHCCCS recipients, who live on less than $1,000 a month.

Without the annual exams, Howard predicts that the eventual cost to taxpayers will be much higher, whether it’s for prenatal care and delivery of a baby a woman would have preferred to postpone, or dealing with a life-threatening disease.

“Treatment of cervical cancer, treatment of a breast mass, or breast cancer. Treatment is invariably much more expensive than the prevention.”

Make sure you cast your ballot for candidates who will protect women’s health care access.  Visit www.advocatesaz.org and view our endorsed candidates and see our 2010 Voter Guide. All of our endorsed candidates have made a commitment to protect women’s health care access in Arizona!

Planned Parenthood Opposes Props 106, 107, and 302

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona opposes Propositions 106, 107, and 302, and here’s why:

Proposition 106, the misnamed Arizona Health Insurance Reform Amendment
Prop. 106 would amend the Arizona Constitution to limit Arizonans’ choices to plans offered by private insurers, and it would block Arizona’s participation in the federal health care reform plan. There are now more than one million Arizonans without health insurance—one-fifth of our state’s population – and if this initiative were to pass, Arizonans would be barred from ever participating in a government-backed health care plan that would ensure every Arizonan was covered, regardless of pre-existing conditions or ability to pay.

Prop 106 does nothing to increase health care choices for our citizens; it does not expand access to care for those without coverage or who do not have the ability to pay for needed care. Regardless of your views on the federal health care reform plan now, this proposition would make it difficult for the state to participate in the future, limiting the state’s options for its citizens.

Proposition 107, The Anti-Equal Opportunity Initiative
This proposed constitutional amendment will ban equal opportunity requirements and programs in employment, public education and public contracting. It will dismantle Arizona’s successful equal opportunities programs and endanger our state’s ability to educate the diverse workforce needed to attract new businesses and improve our state’s economy.

Prop 107 will change Arizona’s Constitution to prohibit the state (as well as local governments, schools and universities) from offering any type of equal opportunity programs to women and people of color in Arizona. Prop 107 is not about protecting civil rights or ending discrimination as some claim, but will end all programs intended to achieve equal opportunity for women and minorities. Continue reading

PPAA Endorses Penny Kotterman for Superintendent of Public Instruction

Planned Parenthood Advocates for Arizona has endorsed Penny Kotterman for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Kotterman began her career as a high school teacher in Illinois, before moving to Arizona to teach Special Education. She has also taught journalism and English, and taught students at all grade levels. She was president of the Arizona Education Association for six years, during which time she worked with governors Janet Napolitano and Jane Hull. She has long been a supporter of teacher accountability, and has helped shape policies that require teacher compensation to reflect performance. Kotterman was a member of the National Education Association’s Professional Standards and Practices committee, which develops NEA teacher performance policies, for six years.

Kotterman does not believe in what she calls “quick fixes” to education issues. Because of her close involvement with all levels of education, both as a leader and a teacher, Kotterman knows Arizona’s system from every angle. She has been involved in education for over twenty years, and knows how to use that experience to Arizona’s benefit. She plans to focus on improving teacher quality, student standardized test scores, and graduation rates. She believes music and art programs are extremely important in public schools, and opposes state budget cuts to education.

At a time when Arizona’s teen pregnancy rate is higher than ever, and politicians continue to oppose comprehensive sexual education, it is very important to elect a pro-choice superintendant to office. Arizona does not legally require sexuality education in public schools. If a district does decide to teach it, they must fulfill certain state requirements. Abstinence must be pushed as the socially acceptable form of behavior. Educators are not allowed to inform students of safe sex practices for gay and lesbian couples.  Continue reading