Are You a Republican Who Supports Women’s Health? Are You Feeling Left Out? Me Too.

Republicans for Planned ParenthoodThe following guest post comes to us via Cynde Cerf, director of communications and marketing for Planned Parenthood Arizona.

I am a registered Republican and I work at Planned Parenthood. With the way politics have been in our state, this statement seems contrary. But, there are a lot of Republicans who stand with the Planned Parenthood mission and I am just one of them. In fact, Planned Parenthood Arizona has been in our state for 80 years and was actually founded by some of the state’s most staunch and legendary Republicans (anyone ever heard of the Goldwaters?).

Our party will continue to leave us, until we voice our dissent through the ballot.

As someone who studied political science, I find that the Republican philosophy is very much in line with the Planned Parenthood mission. We are a nonprofit health care provider that wants citizens to have access to services and education so they can make their own, informed decisions about their reproductive health. Put simply: the personal freedom to make decisions without interference or intrusion from the government.

So, fast-forward to today. If you are like me, you may be feeling a bit left out when you see the long list of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona’s endorsed candidates. You might be thinking, where are the endorsed Republicans? And, what am I supposed to do with my primary ballot?

Before you turn over your ballot and use it for a grocery list or for your son to use as a coloring page, I want to tell you that you still have a voice and now is the time to use it. We need to use it so that we can turn the tide in our state to something akin to moderation. Politicians should be making decisions based on what is best for Arizonans and not their own personal beliefs.

Take a closer look at candidates. Do some research on the candidates who are running. How did they vote on the issues that are important to you? If you can’t find the information or you just don’t have the time, call the candidates running in your district and ask how they feel about the issues important to you. Here is the scorecard we put together for the last legislative session to get you started.

Voice your concern to the party. PPAA endorsed only Democrats for the primaries. Why? There aren’t any Republicans who embrace the fact that a woman and her family should be able to make their own health care decisions. And, if you think we are talking just about abortion — nope. This is about birth control too and could be about a lot more in the future.

Look at the bigger picture and beyond the party line. As registered Republicans, we know that we are quickly becoming the minority in our state. Our fellow Republicans have fled the ranks in mass numbers to become registered as Independents. While we remained true to our fiscal conservatism and Republican perspective, others are waiting in the Independent wings for a lightning bolt of moderation to hit. We need to be a strong voice that works to get us back to the middle. Look beyond party lines and vote for individuals who approach your values.

Vote. Vote, vote, vote. I cannot stress this enough. Our party will continue to leave us, along with the women and children of Arizona, until we voice our dissent through the ballot. We may feel powerless, but that is what extreme politicians and lobbyists want from us. It is time to let them know we won’t let them hijack our party anymore. So, vote, my friends, vote!

The organized pushback on legislation like Senate Bill 1062 was a clear sign that Arizonans are annoyed with out-of-touch representation at our Capitol. The tide can turn and we can be the ones who help steer it in the right direction.

My dream for 2016? Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has an array of candidates to endorse that cross party lines and simply stand for Arizonans having the ability to make their own health care decisions. Can it be done? Of course — and we can do it together!