The Arizona general election will be held on November 4, 2014. 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.” In order to vote in the general election, you must register to vote by October 6 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2014!
[A]my Schwabenlender is running to represent the 20th legislative district in the Arizona House of Representatives. LD 20 encompasses much of Northwest Phoenix, and includes parts of Glendale and Moon Valley. Ms. Schwabenlender stands strong for reproductive health, justice, and, as a longtime supporter of Planned Parenthood, the work we do to stand up for women’s rights.
LD 20 is currently represented in the state House by Paul Boyer, who identifies as “strongly pro-life.” Paul Boyer recently voted for SB 1062, the infamous discrimination bill that received national attention last spring. Anthony Kern, a Republican, is vying for the second seat. Kern has indicated on his Center for Arizona Policy questionnaire that he is opposed to comprehensive sex education and in favor of retaining Arizona’s constitutional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
Because so much is at stake for this House seat, and because Amy Schwabenlender is such a passionate advocate for reproductive rights, we are proud to endorse her campaign. Ms. Schwabenlender was kind enough to talk to Morganne Rosenhaus on September 14, 2014.
“Government and legislators should not be involved in personal health care decisions.”
Tell us a little about your background.
I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, went to college in San Antonio, and have lived in Arizona for 19 years. I worked in sales and marketing for 10 years, and then transitioned to the nonprofit sector, which is where I have been for the past nine years. I currently work at United Way as vice president of community impact, where my job is to end homelessness and hunger in Maricopa County.
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 this new law? In contrast to bills like HB 2284, what kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it is important to fight for it?
These kinds of bills are insulting to women and their families. It feels like women are being picked on just for being women. The rights that women have when they receive their health care shouldn’t be different from men. No one should have their privacy threatened.
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?
These days there is already so much stacked against teenagers — between underfunded schools, limited resources for teachers to provide one-on-one instruction, bullying, and even peer pressure and constant access to social media — that if a teen does get pregnant, it’s just one more thing to have to navigate. It is hard enough to succeed in school, and a pregnancy makes it that much harder.
I support comprehensive sexuality education because it is an essential part of a holistic preparation of young people for life after high school.
Why do you think it’s important that people make their own health care decisions?
It’s a no-brainer; government and legislators should not be involved in personal health care decisions. Their job is to make sure that laws and regulations exist to ensure health facilities are safe, accessible, and affordable — all at a very basic level. Policymakers should not be getting involved in decisions that are best left to a woman to make with her family, her faith, and her doctor.
Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?
Planned Parenthood is a leader in advocating for women’s issues, and I appreciate that they fight for what’s right for women and their families.