The Arizona primary election will be held on August 28, 2012. With so many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of this election year can’t be overstated. To help voters, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive health and freedom. Along with those endorsements, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates,” spotlighting each Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona-endorsed candidate. To vote in the primaries, you must register to vote by July 30 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!
Katie Hobbs is currently a representative for Legislative District 15 in Phoenix, and a candidate for state senator in Arizona’s new LD 24. Hobbs established herself as a leader during her first term in the state legislature. She has been very vocal about women’s health care issues and sex education. She is a lifelong resident of Phoenix, and we’re very proud to endorse her. What follows is an exclusive interview conducted in July 2012.
“Making women’s reproductive health care accessible, affordable, and safe should be a top priority.”
Tell us a little about your background.
I’m a social worker — I have a master’s degree in social work. I’ve spent 20 years working with homelessness, mental health, and domestic violence. I’m also a native Arizonan, wife, and mother, and I’m raising my family here in central Phoenix. I don’t want Arizona to be the state that is constantly ridiculed in the national media. I am proud to be an Arizonan, and I want my children to be proud that they grew up here.
What women’s health care issues do you think should be addressed in the legislature?
We have done some good things for women’s health care. This past year, we passed a bill that will help more women diagnosed with breast cancer have access to treatment. Unfortunately, you can’t separate reproductive health care from women’s health and that’s just what the legislature has tried to do. They have passed legislation (which I fought against!) that severely compromises women’s health by restricting access to family planning, cancer screenings, preventive care, and safe and legal abortion.
My work as a social worker showed me why these services are so important. My first job out of college was working with homeless teens, many of whom were pregnant and/or parenting. Then I worked in a school-based program in a junior high (junior high!!) and there were kids dealing with pregnancy. My most recent work experience in the field of domestic violence made me aware that many abusive partners use sex, sabotage of birth control, pregnancy, and access to abortion as a way to further abuse and control their partners. For all these reasons, making women’s reproductive health care accessible, affordable, and safe should be a top priority of the legislature.
Why do you think it is important that people make their own health care choices?
I think that if people have all of the information, they are the best equipped to make the best decision about what is right in their lives. Those trying to restrict women’s health care choices are not concerned with providing all the information, only the information that will achieve the outcome they desire. They throw around misinformation about how dangerous abortion is, yet they fail to acknowledge that carrying a pregnancy to term presents all of the same risks and more to the health of the woman. Every woman should have the opportunity to make this really important decision in her life.
Why do you support comprehensive sex education in our schools?
I sponsored a bill this past session that would require the provision of sex education in schools. This is really a no-brainer for me. If you want less abortion, prevent unwanted pregnancy. Comprehensive sex education is a proven effective way to reduce teen pregnancy. But, it is about more than just reducing teen pregnancy. It is about educating our kids — both girls and boys — about making healthy choices in their lives. That makes for healthier adults and healthier communities.
Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?
There are a lot of issues I have fought for in my short term in the legislature, but none more passionately than women’s continued access to the health care that allows them to lead healthy and productive lives. Those attacking women’s freedom to make health care choices have been emboldened by the extreme tea party majority in the legislature, and this past term we saw unprecedented amounts of legislation proposed and passed that, for some women, eliminates their access to the services provided by Planned Parenthood. I will continue to fight against these extreme measures, and I’m proud to do it with the support of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona.
With all the redistricting that’s taken place this year, you might not even know what legislative district you’re in — but you can click here to find out! And, regardless of which legislative district in Arizona you live in, you can contact us if you’d like to volunteer for an endorsed candidate in your legislative district.