PPAZ President Resigns from Governor’s Commission on Women’s and Children’s Health

Recently, Planned Parenthood Arizona’s president and CEO, Bryan Howard and Candace Lew, OB/GYN and PPAZ board chair, resigned their respective memberships on the Governor’s Commission on Women’s and Children’s Health. This resignation was a result of numerous decisions Gov. Jan Brewer and her administration made that endanger women’s health and undermine the work of the Commission.

“Planned Parenthood Arizona believes strongly in the importance of the Commission’s mission and work. Indeed, the Commission was created by Governor Jane Hull following our recommendation,” said Howard.

The letter sent to Gov. Brewer cited that for the governor, political priorities outweigh women’s health priorities. The governor’s actions are deliberately contrary to the recommendations made by public health leaders who have donated their time and best thinking to the women and families of Arizona through their participation in the Commission’s deliberations on critical issues including teen pregnancy and inadequate access to basic prevention-oriented health care. Click here to read the full letter.

Harmful decisions made by Gov. Brewer and her administration, include:

* The decision to ban information about family planning and sexually transmitted infection prevention at two state-sponsored Women’s Health Expos in Phoenix.
* The decision to resume ineffective abstinence-only education programming that prohibits distribution of life-saving information about how to reduce exposure to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy.
* The decision to sign House Bill 2564, a measure which will radically restrict access to abortion care in Arizona, significantly increasing health care costs for Arizona women and families and exposing the private health care decisions of Arizona families to the general public.
* The decision to sign Senate Bill 1175, which will reduce the scope of practice of duly licensed Arizona health professionals, exacerbating the state’s already dire shortage.
* The decision to rescind the agreement between the Arizona Department of Public Health and Planned Parenthood to promote testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.

In addition to the above decisions, Gov. Brewer and her administration have repeatedly ignored and rejected Planned Parenthood Arizona’s requests to meet and describe the full scope of services the organization provides; services that are enabling women, men and young people to reduce their risk of disease, detect cancer earlier, and prevent unplanned pregnancy. Six out of seven women who come to Planned Parenthood Arizona do so for preventive health care services.

The policies Gov. Brewer and the administration have adopted are driven by political considerations, given that they squarely contradict the recommendations from public health leaders including the Arizona Board of Nursing, the Arizona College of Emergency Physicians, the Arizona Nurses Association and the Arizona Public Health Association. In so doing, the administration is wasting taxpayer dollars and putting Arizonans in harm’s way.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks for our special series of E-announcements regarding the movement of HB2564 into law. Through this series, entitled “90 Day Countdown to Harmful Health Care Hurdles” we will keep you informed on the harmful impact this bill will have on your community and how you can help, what we are doing to continue our mission-driven work and how you can continue to support Planned Parenthood Arizona.

If you haven’t already, be sure you sign up for Planned Parenthood Arizona Advocacy Network.