The Arizona primary election will be held on August 26, 2014, and early voting began on July 31. Reproductive health care access has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive justice. To acquaint you with our endorsed candidates, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” Make your voice heard in 2014!
Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Holly Lyon is running for Legislative District 11 state representative. Reaching from the outskirts of Tucson up the Interstate-10 corridor, LD 11 comprises both Pima and Pinal counties, including SaddleBrooke, Marana, and Casa Grande. By running, Lyon hopes to bring balance back to the district in which she feels the majority views are not currently represented.
On July 18, 2014, Lyon took the time to speak with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona and detail her views on accessible health care and reaching out to Arizona’s youth through comprehensive sex education.
“Women should not be made to feel guilty or ashamed when deciding to have a legal health care procedure.”
Tell us a little about your background.
I am a retired Air Force colonel with 26 years of service. In my last job, I was assigned to the Pentagon as director of education and training for 90,000 IT personnel. Prior to my U.S. Air Force service, I taught seventh grade for one year. After my U.S. Air Force service, I worked for two corporations before “retiring” again to move to Arizona to be closer to my mother who has lived in Green Valley for 38 years.
I was born in Port Angeles, Washington, but also grew up in a military family as my father and step-father were in the Coast Guard and Navy respectively.
Since moving to Arizona, I’ve served in several volunteer positions within and outside my residential community of SaddleBrooke.
Why do you think it’s important that people make their own health care decisions?
Each of us must live with our own health. Our bodies belong to only us, and we have to live with what we have and can make of them. We try to make the best health care decisions we can, under each of our unique circumstances.
Earlier this year, the state legislature passed HB 2284, which permits the health department to inspect abortion clinics without a warrant. What do you think about the need for heightened privacy and safety for patients seeking reproductive health services?
Abortion clinics should not be treated any differently than any other clinics. Patients seeking reproductive health services deserve the same amount of privacy and safety that any other patient enjoys. Women should not be made to feel guilty or ashamed when deciding to have a legal health care procedure.
What kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it’s important to fight for it?
I believe HB 2284 should be repealed. I would also like to see legislation that allows for easier access to reproductive health services across the state. Despite all kinds of restrictions, couples and women will continue to seek reproductive health care advice, no matter what the law says. Health care providers and those seeking their services should not feel as if they have to hide what they are doing. Before Roe v. Wade, women had abortions without the advice and care of professional health care providers. The results were unacceptable! Planning for parenthood is very important to healthy living and successful, productive lives for both men and women.
Arizona Mayors released a report stating that high school dropouts cost the state $7.6 billion over the course of their lifetime. What do you think about the connection between teenage pregnancy and high-school dropout rates? Do you support comprehensive sex education?
I do support comprehensive sex education. It has been proven over and over that “abstinence only” education does not work. Thirty percent of all teenage girls who drop out of school cite pregnancy and parenthood as key reasons. For Hispanic girls, that statistic goes up to 36 percent, and for Native American girls it is 50 percent.
Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?
I believe strongly in Planned Parenthood’s mission to support the fundamental right of each individual to manage his or her own fertility and recognize the impact it has on preventing unintended pregnancies (estimated at 515,000 per year). Women and couples who recognize that their choices will continue to be narrowed by some of the candidates on their ballots will know that I am not one of those. I stand with them and believe they, along with their health care providers, are the best people to make the final decisions about their reproductive futures.