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.” Make your voice heard in 2014!
Legislative District 8 is another of Arizona’s geographically expansive districts, reaching west to Maricopa, northeast to Globe, and south to Oracle and San Manuel. State Sen. Barbara McGuire has deep roots in this district, which gives her a practical and nuanced understanding of what her constituents want and need. As she seeks another term in the Arizona State Senate, she hopes to continue to advocate for the needs of rural Arizonans as well as a government that is “efficient, accountable, and responsive.”
Sen. McGuire took the time for an interview on September 25, 2014.
“Women’s health care needs are as individual as they are, and no one knows their issues and needs better than they do.”
How has your commitment to serving Arizona grown over the past two years? On the policy level, what has happened during that time to give you hope, and what has happened to strengthen your convictions?
I am honored to have served two terms in the House and a term as a senator. I have always had the desire to make people’s lives better. My 25-plus years as a Salvation Army Unit director, along with my time served as a legislator, have given me the venue to do just that. On the policy side, I have witnessed and participated in halting harmful legislation, and promoting and sponsoring beneficial legislation. I am said to be the most bipartisan legislator at the state Capitol. To be effective, you have to find common ground and move forward from there. It is not a one-size-fits-all legislature by any means. I treasure the relationships I have built over the years, and it gives me hope that, in being well received on both sides of the aisle, we will be able to work together to solve the important issues Arizona will face in the coming years.
Last legislative session, you voted against HB 2284, which now permits the health department to inspect abortion clinics without a warrant. How do you explain to constituents the unique nature of abortion care and the need for heightened privacy and safety for patients?
If there is no guarantee of privacy then women will be hesitant to use these facilities and perhaps choose a path that may result in leaving them unable to have children in the future or even end in their death.
In June, an appeals court affirmed the right to perform medication abortions up to nine weeks in accordance with an evidence-based protocol, when the state legislature wanted abortion providers to use a more restrictive, outdated method. Why is it important that politicians leave the practice of medicine to doctors?
Most politicians do not have the letters “MD” after their name or the medical educational background to make an informed decision. Women’s health care needs are as individual as they are, and no one knows their issues and needs better than they do. That is why the health care of a woman should be between her and her doctor.
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?
I have drafted legislation to raise the dropout age to 18. It is my hope that in doing so, many who would have otherwise dropped out will focus on completing high school. It is also important for us to work together to find a way to incorporate teen pregnancy prevention into state efforts to reduce the dropout rate and improve educational attainment.
In her responses to the Center for Arizona Policy survey, your Republican opponent Irene Littleton indicated both that she favored prohibiting abortion except where it was necessary to preserve the life of the mother and that she opposed statewide comprehensive sex education in Arizona public schools. How do Littleton’s positions compare with the values and needs of your constituents?
She obviously does not possess the common sense she touts. Sex among junior high and high school students is happening. Times have changed, and in my opinion, sex has become an extracurricular activity among youth in our schools.
As leaders, it is our responsibility to educate them to the dangers of STDs and life-long consequences they will endure if they make poor choices — a reality check, if you will.
This past year, the Democratic Caucus of the Arizona State Senate named you its Rural Affairs Liaison in order to help ensure that the unique needs of rural Arizonans are represented in the legislature. What are some of those unique needs when it comes to health care access, including sexual and reproductive health care access, and how will you continue to advocate for those needs to be met?
I voted for and supported the Medicaid expansion, which saved many rural hospitals on the verge of closing their doors due to cost of unsustainable, uncompensated care. I will continue to reach out to our rural hospitals with support and legislation, if necessary, to help them keep their doors open so rural Arizonans continue to have access to quality health care as well as sexual and reproductive health care.
If you’d like to learn more about Sen. Barbara McGuire, including other endorsements and positions on other issues, you can do so via her campaign website or by following her on Facebook and Twitter. You can also read the interview we conducted with her in 2012.