Tag Archives: Arizona

Abstinence-Only Education Gives Birth to Arizona’s High Teen Pregnancy Rate

Arizona has an especially high teen-pregnancy rate. Arizona also promotes abstinence-only education in its public schools.

Arizona has an especially high teen-pregnancy rate. Arizona also promotes abstinence-only education in its public schools.

Arizona is known for a lot of things. The Grand Canyon, our universities, beautiful sunsets.

And, oh yeah, our truly awful teen pregnancy rate.

Ranked against the other 49 states, Arizona’s teen-pregnancy rate has been in the top 5 for years. And while you probably won’t see that little factoid emblazoned on a license plate anytime soon, teen pregnancy still has a significant impact on Arizona residents.


Abstinence-only education teaches that the only sure way to prevent pregnancy and STIs is to abstain from sex, which is true. It is also not very helpful to the 70 percent of teenagers who have had intercourse by age 19.


As of 2009, Arizona had the fifth highest teen birth rate in the United States. This trend is on the rise — as of 2006 the rate had increased by 6.5 percent. In 2009, 12,537 teenagers became pregnant. Of those pregnancies, 10,952 resulted in live births. While the majority of those women were either 18 or 19, that’s still about 3,500 girls under the age of 17 giving birth, a number that varies every year but generally stays in the 4000s. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • President Obama, ever the pacifist, is kowtowing to the demands of Catholic bishops who care more about their dogma than the health and livelihoods of women. (MSNBC)
  • Planned Parenthood is OK with the president making the concession though — whatever it takes to ensure women have access to birth control, we’re on board! (ABC News)
  • Speaking of birth control, you can credit the drop in teen pregnancy and abortions to it. (WebMD)
  • The Arizona Legislature (with the help of the Center for Arizona Policy) is coming out with guns blazing against choice this year. Again. (Tucson Citizen)
  • Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini notes the hypocrisy of our legislature’s seemingly immense care and concern for fetuses while lacking the same for actual born children. (AZ Central)
  • Planned Parenthood: Prioritizing the health and safety of black women. (HuffPo)
  • Rather than, say, creating jobs and passing legislation that will resuscitate the current economy, Congress seems to be solely focused on taking down reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood. (The Hill)
  • Just what we don’t need — the Old Boys’ Club dictating “wisdom” on contraceptive coverage. (RH Reality Check)
  • Students at a Pennsylvania college can now access emergency contraception via a vending machine! (CNN)

Planned Parenthood Services for Men: We’ve Got You Covered

At Planned Parenthood, we’re passionate about women’s health, and indeed, our health care centers are well known for their top-notch services aimed at the female population. But not a lot of people associate Planned Parenthood with men’s health — despite the fact that we offer a wide range of services for men, ranging from those you expect (like condoms) to those you might not expect (like smoking cessation).


Planned Parenthood offers cancer screening and family-planning options for men, as well as an array of services that include cholesterol screening, diabetes screening, and even smoking cessation.


Sexually active people should be screened for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) — even if your partner has negative test results, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear, so you can’t rely on your significant other to provide your STI screening “by proxy.” Especially because so many STIs are asymptomatic, it’s better to get yourself tested. We can screen and treat for STIs, as well as offer preventive vaccines for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and human papillomavirus (HPV). Most people associate the HPV vaccine, Gardasil, with females, since HPV is behind 99 percent of cervical cancers. But males can benefit from Gardasil as well. Not only will they be protecting their partners, but they will also be protecting themselves from the viruses that can cause precancerous penile lesions as well as the majority of genital warts and anal cancers.

Men’s services also include life-saving cancer screening — we can check you out for prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, or testicular cancer. We can also evaluate penile lesions, which might lead to penile cancer if left untreated. These might not be the kind of check-ups anyone looks forward to, but they represent the kind of preventive health care that can save your life — or just your money — down the road. Continue reading

At the Capitol, Women Are Watching

Activists gathered at the Arizona Capitol to send the message to state legislators: Women Are Watching.

Activists gathered at the Arizona Capitol to send the message to state legislators: Women Are Watching.

The sky was blue and the T-shirts were pink on January 9, the opening day of the 2012 Arizona State Legislature in Phoenix. More than 350 pro-choice women and men gathered in the rose garden between the House and Senate buildings to make sure Arizona legislators got the message that “Women Are Watching” and we will all be keeping track of the legislation they are putting forward, which will affect women’s access to abortion, health care, and birth control.


The legislators couldn’t get to their offices without walking through our exuberant group and being made aware that pro-choice supporters were putting them on notice.


I joined the contingency of supporters who “got on the bus” in Tucson and rode up I-10 to lend our voices and presence to those gathering at the Arizona Capitol. When we arrived and made our way through the crowd to the check-in table, I was happy to see how many people had showed up. What made me feel so hopeful was the wide representation of people: women and men, boomers and seniors, college students, and people from across the spectrum of races and cultures. Pro-choice voters from Planned Parenthood Arizona, Arizona List (thank you for the bus ride!), NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona, National Organization for Women, Arizona Women’s Political Caucus, the National Council of Jewish Women, and Business and Professional Women of Arizona all joined their considerable forces.

On the check-in table there were buttons, stickers, brochures, and important information sheets that listed the names, legislative districts, and office phone numbers of legislators who need to be contacted by phone or email and told that we will hold them accountable for legislation that wages war on women. Continue reading

A Tribute to an Amazing Leader, Patti Caldwell

Planned Parenthood Arizona recently bid farewell to one of our most tireless leaders, Patti Caldwell, who served as the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood of Southern Arizona from 2000 – 2007. Patti left PPAZ this past Spring to become the Executive Director of New Beginnings for Women and Children. We honored Patti at this year’s Roe v. Wade Luncheon for her twenty-three years of service.

I took time to speak with Patti about her tenure at Planned Parenthood Arizona. And, I also asked others to speak about Patti’s contributions to the pro-choice movement. The responses were very inspiring.

When did you start working for Planned Parenthood, and what was your motivation for working here?
I started working for Planned Parenthood in August 1987. As a social worker, I was always interested in social justice issues and community involvement. After providing direct counseling and case management services for a number of years, I was ready to focus on a more “macro” level. I had always respected and appreciated the mission of Planned Parenthood. I had the opportunity serve on a community coalition about reducing teen pregnancy with the PP CEO, Ginger Yrun. She impressed me with her brilliance and thoughtfulness, and I thought, “I’d love to work with this woman.” I started as the Director of Education and Training, since attitudes and behaviors are so key to the choices people make. I had the opportunity to serve in many roles, as well as work with amazing people from all over the country. The work was always exciting and interesting, and I learned every day.

What are some of your most memorable experiences working for Planned Parenthood?
Oh, there are so many. Here are just a few:

  • Standing outside of the federal courthouse downtown as part of a 24-hour vigil prior to the initial hearing on a lawsuit to stop a parental consent for abortion law from going into effect (which we won, that time!). And, so many wonderful people driving by and calling out their support. And even more amazing, Marian Lupu seeing the coverage on the 10:00 p.m. news and getting in her car and driving downtown to give us refreshments! I was so touched by her actions!
    Continue reading

PPAA Volunteers Visit Washington

PPAA volunteer with Rep. Raul Grijalva

This summer I had the awesome opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., with Emily Herrell, PPAZ advocacy coordinator, and three other students for the annual Planned Parenthood Youth Conference. We spent three days in the city going to workshops, meeting other activists and listening to speakers like Cecile Richards and Jon Lewis.

The experience was especially valuable to me as the newly elected University of Arizona VOX chapter president. In one workshop I got to meet other VOX leaders and we bounced event ideas and strategies to increase membership off of each other. While there are some pro-choice groups on my campus, it’s rare for us as activists to be able to connect with other than Planned Parenthood student volunteers. I was relieved to find that most VOX leaders struggled with the same problems (i.e. membership) that we do at the UA. Continue reading

Funding Cuts Will Hurt Women Like Me

During the recent debates in Congress over federal funding for family planning services, Senator Jon Kyl told a bold faced lie when he claimed that abortion was 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does. Senator Kyl was called out by the media and Democratic members of the Senate, because most people know what Planned Parenthood actually “does”: Breast exams. Pap smears. Birth control. Continue reading

An Inspiring Legacy of Giving

Hester Fassel (in orange) with Planned Parenthood volunteers

Planned Parenthood Arizona recently dedicated the lobby of their administrative headquarters in Tucson in honor of two of their longtime supporters, Dr. Hester and Raymond Fassel. I was lucky enough to meet up with Hester to ask her about her relationship with Planned Parenthood. And I have to say, Hester Fassel is one inspiring lady!

Mrs. Fassel was born in a suburb of Chicago, but she grew up in Northern Indiana. Hester became a Professor of Zoology at Iowa State University, and her husband Ray was a publisher at ISU Press. The two of them relocated to Tucson in 1987, after abandoning their initial plan to retire in Spain. They picked Tucson because it had a similar geography and climate to Spain, and the transition from Iowa to Arizona was fairly seamless.

The Fassels’ relationship with Planned Parenthood started when they lived in Iowa. Hester served on the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood, but the Fassels were also donors. Hester explains that she got involved with Planned Parenthood because “I feel very strongly about their work. I believe that every child should be wanted.” Continue reading

Look Out Ladies: Anti-Woman Bills from the Arizona Legislature Are Coming Your Way!

For many people, the start of the New Year is marked by plans and vows to make life changes and start fresh. Some people go on diets , some give up nasty habits, and others reconcile differences with loved ones. Then there are those who set out to impose on the lives and health of millions of Arizonans, as is the case of for 61 of the 90 Arizona Legislators. This year’s legislative session was a deliberate, detrimental attack on women’s freedoms, women’s health and the intelligence of women to make decisions regarding their own bodies, their fate and their lives.

Through the nine anti-choice bills that were proposed by members of the House and Senate, opponents of Planned Parenthood sought to mandate regulations that try to eliminate abortion out of existence, stigmatize not only abortion, but the individuals who seek this type of medical care as well as harass the Planned Parenthood network including patients, staff, volunteers and supporters.

House Bill 2416 is one of the bills that try to eliminate abortion out of existence. It redefines taking the abortion pill as “surgery.” It is clearly an unnecessary, extravagant, over-regulation that will result in more than half of Arizona’s miniscule population of abortion providers becoming ineligible to provide care. Women who live in Arizona’s rural areas will lose access to abortion entirely, as abortion-by-pill is currently the only form of care outside Phoenix and Tucson. Because abortion-by-pill is used by women in the fifth to ninth week of pregnancy, this proposal aims to reduce abortion early in pregnancy which could result in more surgical abortion which is potentially riskier than by pill. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • A victory for no one: Mike Pence’s fight against Planned Parenthood will actually cause MORE abortions (Salon)
  • Are all the attacks on abortion by various states making your head spin? Me too. Here’s a handy guide to help you keep track of how our health choices are under seige nationwide (National Partnership for Women and Families)
  • Alabama “Personhood” Law Could Ban All Abortions (Jezebel)
  • Money NOT Well Spent: Bristol Palin’s Nonprofit Paid Her Seven Times What It Spent On Actual Teen Pregnancy Prevention. #Fiscal FAIL (Think Progress)
  • Terrorizing Abortion Providers: The “Other Abortion War” Quietly Continues (RH Reality Check)
  • Nancy Pelosi reminds us all that the U.S. is actually fighting a 3rd war. The war on women and women’s health. (CNN Political Ticker)
  • Ohio Abortion Heartbeat Bill Approved By House Panel (Huff Po)
  • Scottsdale School District Debates Updated Sex Education Curriculum (TheBody.com)
  • Dispensing heaping doses of judgment but not medication: Illinois Pharmacists can now legally opt not to do their jobs by denying women Emergency Contraception (Care2 Blog)