About Malinda B.

Malinda received a bachelor’s degree in writing and English literature and a master’s degree in creative writing. She followed her education with a career in advertising and direct mail. Her interest in feminism began in high school and continues to this day. She has been an active volunteer with Planned Parenthood for four years, knocking on doors and dialing at phone banks for pro-choice candidates, acquiring petition signatures to send to our legislators, and “manning” information tables at community events.

Meet Our Candidates: Karyn Lathan for State Representative, LD 17

The Arizona general election will be held on November 6, 2012, with early voting starting on October 11. After the many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of voting in November can’t be overstated. To help voters, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive health and freedom. Along with those endorsements, we are spotlighting our endorsed candidates in a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” To vote in the general election, you must register to vote by midnight tonight (October 9) — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!

Karyn Lathan, an Arizona native from Chandler, is running in Legislative District 17 for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives, an area that includes Chandler, Sun Lakes, and part of Gilbert. She has had a career in law enforcement and corrections, and ended her 25-year career as the restorative justice coordinator for the Arizona Department of Corrections. Lathan is currently finishing her degree in business administration at the University of Phoenix.


“We have rolled women’s rights back to the 1950s.”


Lathan is the sole pro-women’s health candidate running for the House in Legislative District 17, facing off against Republican opponents Tom Forese and J.D. Mesnard. Because of the views of the other candidates in the LD 17 House election, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona is recommending a “single-shot vote” for Karyn Lathan. Lathan generously took the time for an interview with us on October 5, 2012.

Tell us about your background and how it will serve your constituents.

I spent my career in law enforcement, first in the U.S. Air Force, then in corrections. I was a correctional officer, correctional programs officer, and probation and parole officer. I ended my career in corrections when I returned to Arizona and started the first restorative justice program for the Arizona Department of Corrections. Currently I am a commissioner with the Chandler Domestic Violence Commission and work with several victim services agencies. I am a consultant for Coalition to End Arizona’s Sexual Exploitation (CEASE). My passion lies with women’s issues and anti-violence issues.

My whole career has been about community and how to have a safe, productive community. I will continue to fight for the quality of life that we all deserve and that emphasizes respect and progress. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link — so is a community. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Jo Holt for State Senator, LD 11

The Arizona general election will be held on November 6, 2012, with early voting starting on October 11. After the many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of voting in November can’t be overstated. To help voters, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive health and freedom. Along with those endorsements, we are spotlighting our endorsed candidates in a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” To vote in the general election, you must register to vote by October 9 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!

Jo Holt is running for an Arizona Senate seat in the new Legislative District 11, which covers the northwestern parts of Pima County and western parts of Pinal County. This area includes Oro Valley, Marana, Avra Valley, Arizona City, Ak-Chin, Maricopa, SaddleBrooke, and Catalina, as well as many other cities and towns. On her website, Holt states, “Arizona is worth fighting for, and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and work for the best interest of all the people of Arizona.” It’s also very clear that she believes the women of Arizona are worth fighting for as well, and that Holt will be willing to roll up her sleeves to protect women’s rights to health care.

What follows is an exclusive interview conducted with Holt on September 26, 2012.


“The right of women to determine their reproductive choices … is being undermined here in Arizona with the most restrictive laws in the nation.”


Tell us a little about your background.

I am a retired research scientist, and this is my first time to run for public office. Part of my career was spent at the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Arizona in the 1980s. My son James was born at Tucson Medical Center. My career took me to the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, where I spent about 15 years. I retired early to take care of my husband, who passed away last year after a long battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s. So, my background is split between being a mom, a research scientist, and a caregiver.

From 2010 through 2012, your opponent Al Melvin has supported 13 bills (and sponsored many of them) that sought to regulate and stigmatize abortion care out of existence, defund Planned Parenthood, and harass patients and staff of Planned Parenthood and other women’s health care providers. For example, in the previous legislative session, there were many bad bills that negatively affected access to birth control (HB2625), funding for family planning (HB2800), abortion (HB2036), and unbiased information in schools about unintended pregnancies (SB1009). What kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it’s important to fight for it?

According to the laws of this country, a woman can legally choose to end her pregnancy. A state bill that reaffirms this right, and removes government restrictions on a woman’s ability to control her own reproductive cycle, should be introduced.  Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Ed Ableser for State Senator, LD 26

The Arizona general election will be held on November 6, 2012, with early voting starting on October 11. After the many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of voting in November can’t be overstated. To help voters, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive health and freedom. Along with those endorsements, we are spotlighting our endorsed candidates in a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” To vote in the general election, you must register to vote by October 9 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!

Ed Ableser is running for an Arizona State Senate seat in the new Legislative District 26, which covers Tempe, Mesa, Phoenix, and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. He has served as a state senator and is the current state representative from Legislative District 17. Ableser received his bachelor’s degree in political science and Chinese, as well as his master’s degree in counseling, from Arizona State University. He is now working to complete his Ph.D. in justice and social inquiry and is a mental-health counselor in the public school system. He also owns a business and works as a counselor for Ableser Family Counseling.


“This election is an important one for women’s access to reproductive health care. The fair and equal treatment of women is at stake.”


Because Ableser has spent his career serving low-income families and helping them deal with the difficult issues they face on a day-to-day basis, he believes his experience has given him “the opportunity to see what their problems are and the insight into how my constituents can be helped at the state capitol.”

In the previous legislative session, there were many bad bills that negatively affected access to birth control, funding for family planning, abortion, and unbiased information about unintended pregnancies in public schools. When asked what legislation he would like to see introduced, he said he would like to make sure the Affordable Healthcare Act gets enacted. Ableser noted that “there are hundreds of people waiting to have the basic safety net of insurance. There are too many people on the edge of bankruptcy because of the cost of medical care.”

Next, he would like to continue work on legislation to provide resources for parents who need to come to schools for parent/teacher conferences. “Some employers have fired employees for taking time off to go to their children’s school,” he said, and he would like these employees to have protection. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Lorenzo Sierra for State Representative, LD 19

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 28, 2012. With so many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of this election year can’t be overstated. To help voters, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive health and freedom. Along with those endorsements, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates,” spotlighting each Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona-endorsed candidate. To vote in the primaries, you must register to vote by midnight today (July 30) — and you can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!

Lorenzo Sierra is one of four Democratic candidates running in the primary in Legislative District 19, which covers the West Valley, Tolleson, and Avondale. Of these four Democrats, Sierra is one of only two, along with Mark Cardenas, to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona because of his positive positions on women’s health and choice issues.


“Planned Parenthood is just one organization that has been unfairly misrepresented by the current legislature.”


Sierra is an accredited business communicator and an experienced community leader who has served on several boards that have had positive impacts on the women and families of Arizona. One of the boards, Parenting Arizona, has worked to increase funding to parenting resources that strengthen home environments for children. Another, Xico, promotes indigenous arts and culture through community-based arts programs.

In July 2012, Sierra shared his views on women’s health and comprehensive sex education in this exclusive interview.

Tell us a little about your background.

I am an Arizona native who grew up in Tucson. I was the first person in my extended family to attend college. I even worked five part-time jobs my senior year at Arizona State University in 1992. I went on to have a successful marketing career with a few Fortune 500 companies. While working for those companies, I was able to serve on several statewide boards, including the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism, Chicanos por la Causa’s Parenting Arizona, and Xico. I live in Avondale with my wife Rhonda. My son Adam is a freshman at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. My son Roman is an eighth grader in the Gilbert School District. And my stepdaughter Megan is a double major junior at ASU. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Dustin Cox for State Representative, LD 9

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 28, 2012. With so many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of this election year can’t be overstated. To help voters, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive health and freedom. Along with those endorsements, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates,” spotlighting each Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona-endorsed candidate. To vote in the primaries, you must register to vote by July 30 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!

Dustin Cox is one of three candidates running in the primary for the new Legislative District 9. This district covers midtown Tucson, the foothills area from I-10 to Sabino Canyon, and as far north as southern parts of Oro Valley in the Oracle Road corridor. With all the redistricting that’s taken place this year, you might not even know what legislative district you’re in — but you can click here to find out!


“No government or legislature should be allowed to dictate health care decisions that should be made by individuals in consultation with their doctors.”


Cox has received much recognition and several awards for his service to the community. He was a Flinn-Brown Fellow in the inaugural class of the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership. In 2008 he was one of the youngest ever recipients of the Hon Kachina Volunteer Award for a lifetime of volunteer service and improving the health of the Arizona community. He has been a nominee for the Champion for Children and Families Award, and named one of Tucson’s “Top 40 Under 40” community and business leaders. What follows is an exclusive interview conducted with Cox in July 2012.

Tell us a little about your background.

Five generations of my family have called Arizona home. I think that has fostered in me a great love for my community here. It is a big part of what drives my desire to improve this state and fight the extreme measures coming out of our state legislature. It pains me to think that Arizona could be worse off for the next five generations of my family who will call this place home, and that is why I feel I must stand up and say, “Enough.” Continue reading

Ron Barber Takes a Stand for Women’s Health

Editor’s Note: What follows is our unedited, exclusive interview with Ron Barber, the candidate who is running to complete Gabrielle Giffords’ term in Congressional District 8. Barber has worked with Giffords since she was elected to Congress in 2006, after which he became the head of her Tucson office. He is endorsed by both Giffords and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Prior to his work with Giffords, he navigated bureaucratic red tape as head of the Southern Arizona branch of the state’s Division of Developmental Disabilities, advocating for vulnerable members of the community. With strong bipartisan support, and strong roots in Southern Arizona, Barber will stand for CD8 in Washington — but first, he needs your vote. The election will be held on June 12, 2012; you can also vote by early ballot.


“Our federal and state budgets should reflect our values and not the extreme positions of a few legislators.”


Please give me a little background on yourself: where you grew up, your education, how long you’ve lived in Tucson.

I have lived here in Southern Arizona most of my life, running a small business with my wife, Nancy, and helping solve community problems — whether it was heading up Congresswoman Giffords’ district operations to help people get results by cutting through federal agency red tape, or working for 35 years to look out for people with disabilities.

I was born in England, but went to high school in Tucson, where I met my wife, Nancy. We were high school sweethearts — we first started dating in 1960 and have been together ever since. I went to the University of Arizona, here in Tucson, and received a bachelor’s degree. I’ve lived in Tucson for over 50 years — my children and grandchildren all live here as well.

What women’s health care issues do you see will need to be addressed in the remainder of this legislative term and in the next?

Access to basic care is still a major issue for women’s health. We must ensure that regardless of state laws on abortions or funding, Planned Parenthood and other clinics continue to receive funds to provide basic health care to women — from cancer screenings to mammograms. Continue reading

Special Election on June 12: Ron Barber Stands with Planned Parenthood

It’s pretty safe to say that nearly all of the political advertisements and newspaper articles covering the Congressional District 8 race between Ron Barber and Jesse Kelly have focused on Social Security and Medicare. But, the issue of women’s health care is also critical — and one that hasn’t received much attention.

Jesse Kelly is an avowed anti-choice candidate and has received support from the National Right to Life Political Action Committee. Barber, when asked about his position on choice and women’s health care, said he has always been pro-choice and believes women’s health care decisions must be made between women and their doctors.


Ron Barber is running to finish Gabrielle Giffords’ term in the June 12, 2012, special election. Early voting starts on May 17.


“There has been too much political debate about limiting our freedoms,” he told us. “Women have the right to make their own choices about contraception and any interference from the government or employers is an affront to personal liberty.”

The debate on women’s health care used to center on abortion. It has now expanded to include the availability of contraception and the “right to refusal” — so-called consciousness clauses that allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense emergency contraception, employers to opt out of providing insurance coverage for birth control, and health care providers to refuse emergency care for pregnant women. Barber, as do most Americans, believes that the “availability of contraception was an issue we settled 50 years ago” and employers, insurance companies, and pharmacists should not put themselves between a woman and her doctor. Continue reading