Center for Arizona Policy: A Witches’ Brew of Spine-Tingling Politics and Legislation

Photo: Ryan Godfrey

For nearly 20 years, CAP has been injecting their extreme interpretations of Christian doctrine into Arizona law. Photo: Ryan Godfrey

The Center for Arizona Policy is a far-right Christian organization that was founded in 1995. According to its mission statement:

Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) promotes and defends the foundational values of life, marriage and family, and religious liberty.

Its political purpose is stated in the next sentence:

The fact is, what happens at the state Capitol impacts real lives. CAP works with state legislators and other elected officials at all levels of government to ensure that public policy promotes foundational principles.

Its founding president, and its second and current president Cathi Herrod, are both lawyers, and Herrod was a lawyer on staff before becoming president. Therefore it is no surprise that CAP is more than a lobbying group — they actually write legislation, including the vetoed SB 1062, which would have allowed businesses to refuse service to LGBTQ customers under the guise of religious freedom.

They are proud of the legislation they have written or supported over the years. A Huffington Post report from February 2014 says:

Since the group’s 1995 establishment, 123 CAP-supported measures have been signed into law, including the state’s 2008 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. That effort was spearheaded by the group’s president, Cathi Herrod. Twenty-nine bills backed by CAP have been vetoed by various Arizona governors after being passed by the state legislature.

Arizona’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was just overturned in federal court. Cathi Herrod responded to the the decision with a post on CAP’s Foundations blog.

Today, we grieve. We grieve for the children who now have no chance of growing up with a mom and a dad. We mourn the loss of a culture and its moral foundation. We mourn a culture that continues to turn its back on God and His principles.

But we do not despair. We do not throw in the towel. We do not give up.

She goes on to cite the religious right activism spawned by Roe v. Wade, and predicts a similar movement building up against same-sex marriage.

A rather terrifying thought, given the terrorism and deaths the anti-abortion movement has generated. Continue reading

The Nation’s — and Arizona’s — Road to Marriage Equality

Protesters advocate for marriage equality as the Supreme Court hears Hollingsworth v. Perry. Image: Victoria Pickering

Protesters advocate for marriage equality as the Supreme Court hears Hollingsworth v. Perry. Image: Victoria Pickering

June is often known as a big month for weddings. Last June, that was more true than ever as a political battle over the right to marry was in front of the Supreme Court.

In the spring and early summer of 2013 and the days and weeks leading up to the decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry, it was clear that no matter what that case decided about same-sex marriage, the public had decided in favor of marriage equality. Hollingsworth v. Perry challenged Proposition 8, a California same-sex marriage ban that was passed by voter initiative in 2008. The plaintiffs in the case charged that Proposition 8 violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause.


Arizona was the first state to defeat a ballot initiative against marriage equality, but it still doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage today.


Interest built as the case made its way through the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court. The attorneys challenging the ban were themselves a sign of the change taking place in the United States, as former rivals in the Bush v. Gore trial — the Supreme Court trial over the disputed 2000 presidential election — joined forces to challenge Proposition 8. David Boies, a Democrat who had represented Al Gore, joined Theodore Olson, a Republican who had represented George W. Bush.

Before agreeing to serve as counsel for the plaintiffs, Olson had been approached by backers of Proposition 8 to serve as their counsel. Olson declined on the grounds that the law was contrary to both his legal and personal views. However, a high-profile Republican had made the case that the tide was turning, and polling before the Hollingsworth decision provided proof in numbers. Support for marriage equality was growing across all major demographic sectors, and 14 percent of those polled by the Pew Research Center had switched from opposing to supporting marriage equality. A CBS News poll showed that a 53-percent majority now supported same-sex marriage. Alex Lundry, a data scientist who had worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, called it “the most significant, fastest shift in public opinion that we’ve seen in modern American politics.” At the same time, celebrities ranging from hip-hop artist Jay-Z to Baltimore Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo joined the fray as allies. Continue reading

Six Things Arizona Is Doing Right

pillflagThe Arizona legislature has been an eager participant in the War on Women, rolling back women’s health and reproductive rights with a number of measures we’ve covered on this blog. Then there was Senate Bill 1062, the bill that would have given a green light to discrimination against LGBTQ individuals and many others had it not been for Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto in February. It’s easy to feel embattled in times like these, which is why a look at what Arizona is doing right might be in order.

Here’s a look at six recent news items from around the state to remind us that we have some victories to count — not just losses.

1. Moving Forward with Medicaid Expansion

Last year, against opposition from other Republicans, Gov. Brewer signed into law a Medicaid expansion that was expected to make 300,000 additional Arizonans eligible for coverage. Brewer stated that the expansion would also protect hospitals from the costs associated with uninsured patients and bring additional jobs and revenue to the economy.

That expansion took effect on the first of the year, and by early February the Associated Press was reporting that already close to 100,000 Arizonans had obtained coverage. At Tucson’s El Rio Community Health Center, the change has made them “very, very busy,” according to Chief Financial Officer Celia Hightower. El Rio used a recent grant to hire six application counselors — in addition to five who were already on staff — who could help patients understand their eligibility and guide them through the process of obtaining coverage. Pharmacist Sandra Leal reports that they’re now seeing patients receive diabetes care they previously couldn’t afford — and no longer having to choose “between paying for the doctor and paying for their grocery bill.” Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

Arizona has had quite an eventful few weeks, y’all. Here’s what’s been happening on the home front …

  • As you’ve probably heard, anti-gay SB1062, vetoed by Gov. Brewer last week, was hugely unpopular to begin with — even among Arizona Republicans. (AZ Capitol Times)
  • Right-wing machine Center for Arizona Policy, which has a storied history of being anti-choice and all-around terrible, wants to implement a modern-day gestapo to make unannounced inspections at the clinic of any abortion provider in the state. Just what you don’t need when you’re lying back with your legs in the stirrups while getting a Pap test at Planned Parenthood. ’Cause, ya know, we do way more of those than abortions. (AZ Central)
  • After two-and-a-half years, Planned Parenthood will again offer medication abortions in Flagstaff. (KNAU)
  • Aaaand medication abortions are in serious danger here as well. Can you guess who’s behind that? It rhymes with “Schmenter for Parizona Folicy.” (WaPo, Fronteras)
  • State Sen. Steve Gallardo, in the wake of the governor’s veto and inspired by the heated dialogue surrounding SB 1062, took the opportunity to come out of the closet. (Advocate)
  • Arizona’s attempts to strip Planned Parenthood of its Medicaid funding continue to be futile. (RH Reality Check)

In the rest of the world …

  • As a black woman, it’s nice to hear about lesser-known black women who’ve championed for reproductive rights throughout history. (Salon)
  • The FDA is increasing access to generic morning-after pills! (NPR)
  • Pro-choice advocates have been playing defense for three long years and it’s time for a change, dammit. (Bloomberg)
  • Abortion clinic protesters continue to be awful in their treatment of women. (Cosmopolitan)
  • Pregnancy and motherhood are physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting endeavors. Sometimes it takes experiencing those things to understand how important it is to be pro-choice. (Feministe)
  • The concept of vegan condoms may strike you as strange, but so will the fact that they were created by a father and his daughter. (ABC News)
  • Birthing center and abortion clinic in one building! Pro-choice is pro-life, folks! (Jezebel)

Chad Campbell Calls for New Faces at the Capitol

Campbell ChadEditor’s Note: We loved Chad Campbell’s Arizona Republic op-ed so much that we couldn’t help but share it with our readers, as it so perfectly encapsulates our feelings about the current legislative movement here in Arizona! Please take a look at the below excerpt and click the link to read the rest. And, if you’re in the Phoenix area, why don’t you come to the I Stand With Planned Parenthood luncheon on March 14 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort, where we will be honoring Rep. Campbell, the minority leader in the Arizona House and an amazing ally for reproductive justice!


Arizona has been in the spotlight yet again for legislation so incredibly outrageous that it never should have made it to the governor’s desk.

Extreme conservatives in the Legislature are so out of touch with Arizonans, they can’t be bothered with what is best for the state and its citizens. This is all about their ideology, an ideology that wants to legalize discrimination.

This controversy has already hurt the image of our state, but similar bills have been introduced in about 10 states. The specifics vary, but all of them would allow private corporations to discriminate against LGBT individuals.

This orchestrated effort is one I have seen many times, locally and nationally, with bills that discriminate against women and their right to make health-care decisions.

The Center for Arizona Policy, the organization behind the “religious freedom” bill, has pushed an endless barrage of bills that have attacked women and reproductive health care over the past three years.

While we have expressed outrage with Senate Bill 1062 and its discrimination, the U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to hear two cases from corporations arguing that they have a religious right to take away birth-control coverage from their employees.

Let’s be completely clear: Churches and religious organizations don’t have to give employees birth control, and they don’t have to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.

That’s not what these bills or these cases are about. They’re about private corporations attempting to get a free pass, under the cover of religious freedom, to discriminate.

Read the rest of the piece at the Arizona Republic!

Take Action: Extremists Won’t Stop at SB 1062. Everyone Is a Target.

Your action is urgent. Here is what you can do now to stop the Legislature’s war on Arizonans.

Once again, extremists controlling the Arizona legislature have made our state a national laughingstock. Their “religious freedom” bill, SB 1062, pushed by the Center for Arizona Policy, essentially legalizes discrimination against LGBT citizens and other Arizonans.

This hateful and divisive legislation never should have seen the light of day; it is unbelievable that it has made it to the Governor’s desk.

Unfortunately, it is part of a larger pattern in which well-funded interest groups with narrow social agendas, aided and abetted by extremist legislators, pass unconstitutional laws that damage our state’s reputation and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

This destructive cycle didn’t begin with SB 1062. The Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) and their legislative allies have long had Planned Parenthood and the women we serve as their targets. Just this session they are pushing clinic inspection legislation, HB 2284, which would open the door to government harassment of women seeking health services and those providers who serve them. The barrage of bills that attack women and reproductive health care has been seemingly endless over the last three years — and, to what end?

Just in the last two months, Arizona has taken two CAP bills all the way to the Supreme Court, where they were refused review: HB 2036, the 20-week abortion ban, and HB 2800, which attempted to deny women with Medicaid coverage the right to access health care services at a provider of their choosing. Indeed, three times in the last three years CAP and their allies have been thwarted in court with their costly litigation. Who pays the bill? Arizona taxpayers. We all pay, once for the Attorney General who defends these unconstitutional laws, and again, when Planned Parenthood and others are awarded attorney’s fees. Over time, CAP and their lackeys in our legislative and executive branch are costing Arizona millions of dollars.

Worse, anyone or any group can be the target of such extreme ideology — not just Planned Parenthood and not just our LGBT friends.  Make no mistake — CAP’s target is you or someone you love. Today, they prey on LGBT individuals and women; tomorrow it will be someone else. SB 1062 is a clear sign of what is to come with its sweeping allowance for discrimination.

Just when we were finally recovering from the damage inflicted by SB 1070, our state again is in the headlines. This is not the state Arizonans want. It doesn’t have to be this way.

There are three things you can do right now to stop this madness:

1) RIGHT NOW — Tell Governor Brewer to VETO SB 1062. Email the Governor, and copy her staff as listed below:

Governor Janice K. Brewer — azgov@az.gov or http://azgovernor.gov/contact.asp

Chief of Staff Scott Smith — ssmith@az.gov

Director of Policy Michael Hunter — mhunter@az.gov

2) NEXT MONTH — Plan to attend the Planned Parenthood I Stand events occurring around the state. The funds raised at these events go directly to our efforts to educate voters and elect moderate, common-sense public servants who focus on priorities supported by most Arizona voters — not the agenda of conservative extremists.

See details at www.advocatesaz.org

3) NOVEMBER — Remember, things won’t change until we change who’s in office.  Register to vote and exercise your right this November 4!

Q&A With Our New Director of Public Policy, Jodi Liggett

jodiOn January 6, Jodi Liggett joined Planned Parenthood Arizona’s team as the director of public policy. She will work with communities to advocate for reproductive health and rights, and will collaborate with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona to reach out to voters and legislators to advance a vision of greater access to comprehensive sexuality education, family-planning services, and abortion care. In a state where lawmakers are so hostile to these objectives, Jodi has a lot on her plate!


“The most effective thing we can do is advocate for comprehensive and accurate sexuality education.”


In the following Q&A, Jodi addresses the recent controversy regarding comprehensive sex education in Tempe high schools, and names some of the bad bills that have already been proposed so far in the 2014 legislative session. And, with the gubernatorial elections slated for later in the year, she talks about her hopes for the future — an Arizona government that actually reflects the will of Arizonans, the majority of whom support Planned Parenthood’s mission.


Welcome aboard, and I hope your first month with us has been a positive experience! Please tell us a little about your background and what makes you so passionate about protecting everyone’s access to sexual and reproductive health care.

I am thrilled to join the Planned Parenthood family, and feel like this role is the culmination of many years working on behalf of Arizona’s women and vulnerable populations. When I graduated from law school in the late ’90s, I worked as legislative staff on welfare reform — a huge policy change that affected tens of thousands of poor single mothers struggling to raise their children. Later, I worked in Gov. Jane Hull’s administration as her policy adviser for human services. In both roles, my biggest successes came from finding common ground, avoiding partisan posturing, and working from the middle. Continue reading