The Arizona general election will be held on November 6, 2012, with early voting starting on October 11. After the many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of voting in November 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 spotlighting our endorsed candidates in a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” To vote in the general election, you must register to vote by October 9 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!
[O]n everything you see put out by Patricia Flickner, there is the tagline that states, “Talk to me, I’ll listen.” It is evident in every way that it is not just a line for her; it is how she serves. The interview she afforded us is below, and I think it clearly shows this aspect of not only who she is as a candidate; also who she is as a person and what it means to her to act in the role of representative.
“The biggest problem with this latest spate of legislation is that it assumes that doctors coerce women and women cannot be trusted.”
She took the time more than once to correspond and speak with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, and each time it felt as though we were carrying on a conversation with someone worthy of being called “friend.” There is no sense that she is seeking this position for anything other than to help create necessary change, even if it costs her campaign dollars and potential re-election. This woman is very genuine, and very much lives by the ideals of what it means to serve. It is tremendously exciting and refreshing!
Flickner is the sole pro-women’s health candidate running for the House in Legislative District 15 in north Phoenix, running against Republican opponents John Allen and Heather Carter. Because of the views of the other candidates in the LD 15 House election, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona is recommending a “single-shot vote” for Patricia Flickner. This interview took place on September 13, 2012, and was conducted by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona volunteer Liza Love.
Tell us a little about your background.
I am an Army veteran, business leader, wife, mother of four grown children, and grandmother of 11 (the newest was just born on September 11). I have lived in Phoenix in the same house for the past 15 years. I love technology, kids, animals — especially horses — and motorcycles, and not necessarily in that order.
In a survey submitted to Center for Arizona Policy, your opponent John Allen indicated that he was in favor of so-called conscience clauses that would allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraception. How do you respond to that?
Anyone who feels they should not fill every single doctor-prescribed medication to every single patient should consider another line of work. No pharmacist is above a doctor and (save potential interactions) it is no one’s business, least of all a pharmacist’s, what the prescription is or its purpose. I haven’t heard of a single pharmacist making a fuss over dispensing erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra or highly addictive narcotics such as OxyContin. The same goes for employers. These so-called “conscience” objectors have no leg to stand on.
Heather Carter’s voting record shows that she also did not vote though she had the opportunity to do so for HB 2036, SB 1359, and SB 1009. These bills were related to sexual and reproductive health and rights (HB 2036 and SB 1359), as well as education policies about such health and rights (SB 1009). What is your commitment to casting a vote in regard to such legislative proposals, and why?
I expect I would vote on as many bills regarding sexual and reproductive health as possible since I am not afraid of having open and honest discussions regarding either. I am not interested in playing safe so that I can be popular or keep my elected position. I am, however, very interested in doing what is right by the people of Arizona.
[Regarding the comments made by legislators referencing the 20-week abortion ban, Flickner said, “Any woman who has carried her baby for five months and is seeking an abortion is not doing so frivolously … Anyone who says otherwise [does] not represent the majority, but rather a tyrannical minority.”]
In contrast to some of the policies supported by your opponents, what kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it’s important to fight for it?
I would like to see legislation introduced that supports health care privacy and the primacy of doctors. I would like to see legislation that prevents any legislator’s personal religious beliefs from entering legislation. I would also press legislation that requires that if the guts of a bill are stripped before sending it to the legislature that it be renamed.
Why do you think it is important that people make their own health care choices?
I believe it is important that all legislators stay out of the doctor’s office. Except for Dr. Eric Meyer, I do not think that any legislator is qualified to discern a patient’s treatment, and even Dr. Meyer would be unwilling to treat a patient he doesn’t know. The biggest problem with this latest spate of legislation is that it assumes that doctors coerce women and women cannot be trusted. As a woman who carried four children to term and miscarried twice, I find this utterly insulting.
Why do you support comprehensive sex education in our schools?
I support comprehensive sex education in our schools because children have questions early on. Our daughters are also getting pregnant at younger and younger ages. Regardless of the reasons, children need their questions answered. They need to understand what happens with the human body, learn the consequences and impacts of certain behaviors and how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases and to prevent pregnancy. “Just say ‘no’” doesn’t work and never has.
Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?
It was important for me to be endorsed because Planned Parenthood has done more to reduce the number of abortions in this country than any other organization, including so-called pro-life organizations. Through education and health care, Planned Parenthood assists, supports, and empowers women to powerfully take on their lives and determine whether and when they have children.
If you’d like to learn more about Patricia Flickner’s campaign — including endorsements and positions on other issues — you can check out her campaign website at PatriciaFlickner.com, her Facebook page, Patricia Flickner, and Twitter @Pat4Az.
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.