The Arizona primary election will be held on August 30, 2016. 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 primary election, you need to have been registered to vote by August 1. Missed the deadline? You can still register online for November’s general election. Make your voice heard in 2016!
From 2003 to 2011, Dave Bradley represented what was then Tucson’s Legislative District 28 in the Arizona House of Representatives. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona had the opportunity to speak with him during his campaigns for Arizona State Senate in both 2012 and 2014. During this time, Sen. Bradley has been a tireless advocate for health care and education access and equity.
He was kind enough to take the time for this interview with us on July 12, 2016.
“The Legislature is the last place that medical practices should be dictated.”
Since we last spoke, how has your commitment to serving Arizona grown? What has happened during that time to give you hope, and what has happened to strengthen your convictions?
I like to say that my dreams still outnumber my memories, and as such still believe that Arizona can rise from its historical morass of being so backward in its approach to commonsense issues of equality and women’s rights. The Legislature is always the arena where incremental progress is celebrated disproportionately. When we do commonsense things like pass Medicaid expansion or KidsCare, we are reinvigorated. There is a long way to go, but I choose to believe that time will be on our side.
Recently, some school districts (such as Tucson Unified School District) have voted to include comprehensive sex education in their classrooms, but progress has been slow. How would you like to see sexuality education addressed on a statewide level?
I would like to see that mandate come from the Legislature, although it is not likely in the short run. You would think that the common ground between the pro-choice supporters and those opposed would be education to prevent or at least reduce unintended pregnancies. Hopefully, we can get to that common ground.
Arizona made nationwide headlines when it passed a law requiring medication abortion to be administered using a protocol that is no longer supported by the FDA. As a lawmaker, what do you think your role is in legislating medical practices?
The Legislature is the last place that medical practices should be dictated. The Legislature is prone to acting on anecdotes and not science, and almost every time it does so the courts are called upon to intervene.
In the most recent legislative session, SB 1019 — which would have repealed current provisions against portraying same-sex behavior in a positive light and would have then allowed educating LGBTQ students about safer-sex practices — was introduced but defeated. Why do you think it’s important for sex education in Arizona to be inclusive of all students?
It is only right and just to support people regardless of their sexual orientation. Informed choices should always be the goal.
In this past legislative session, you voted against HB 2599, which lays the groundwork for Arizona to kick Planned Parenthood out of AHCCCS, our state Medicaid program. If that happens, AHCCCS patients couldn’t choose Planned Parenthood for their preventive health care and birth control needs. In what way do you think Planned Parenthood health centers play a role in keeping Arizonans healthy?
Planned Parenthood performs an indispensable function in preventive care. The only way we will ever get a handle on the exploding cost of health care is by investing in preventive care. Planned Parenthood is on the front line of that investment and easily pays for itself numerous times over.
If you’d like more information about Dave Bradley’s campaign — including positions on other issues and other organizations who’ve endorsed him — you can do so by visiting his campaign website or via Facebook or Twitter.