It’s been our tradition to start the new year off by thanking you — our Planned Parenthood supporters. You are the heart and soul of Planned Parenthood and you stand with us no matter what. Your commitment, bravery, and generosity means so much to the entire Planned Parenthood community. It’s because of you that Planned Parenthood health center doors are open today, and will remain open for years to come.
As we begin this particular New Year — and continue celebrating Planned Parenthood’s 100th anniversary — we ask you to help us thank our visionary leader, Bryan Howard. Today is Bryan’s 20th anniversary as CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona. Bryan has made it his life’s work to further Planned Parenthood’s mission and has inspired all of us to join with him to serve Arizona’s women and families.
Bryan joined us on January 2, 1997, when he was only 36 years old, after having served various roles at Planned Parenthood in Chicago since 1984.
During his tenure, he has led the agency successfully through a merger, an economic recession, and too many political and anti-choice attacks to mention. Today, thanks in large part to Bryan’s steady leadership, Planned Parenthood Arizona is resilient and strong, ready to weather the next storm that is just around the corner. Continue reading
Dear 2014 Luncheon Attendees:
Thank you for supporting Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona’s 2014 I Stand luncheon. We are tremendously grateful for the wonderful feedback we have received about the event — as well as all the generous donations. Thank you for helping us “Make it Happen in 2014”!
This year’s event was unashamedly political. That focus, and our speakers’ urgency, is driven by today’s reality. For many of the 45,000 women, men, and young people who come to Planned Parenthood Arizona each year — and many thousands more like them across our state — the challenges to access accurate health information and medical services are real and increasingly insurmountable.
I want to address our Republican supporters who may feel personally criticized when Planned Parenthood Advocates and I take aim at Republican legislators who are leading the assault on women’s health care. This is not the Republican party of the past. I was raised in a Republican family. My 83-year-old mother was an elected Republican author of the modern Illinois state constitution when, in 1970, she successfully defeated a proposal to include an abortion ban. My hope is that we will again see a day when candidates on both sides of the ballot support Planned Parenthood’s vision and values.
Most of us who support Planned Parenthood are motivated by our interest in providing hands-on health care and education. When we think of Planned Parenthood, we think of hope-filled futures in which young women and men can complete educations, get jobs, and raise healthy families. The gritty reality of working in the political trenches wasn’t in our plans.
I am grateful that Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed Felecia Rotellini, Terry Goddard, and Fred DuVal because these individuals clearly recognize the crossroads at which Arizona finds itself with respect to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
In my remarks at the opening of these events, I cited my profound concern for the health and futures of the 96,000 young Arizonans who will enter their teens in 2014. I know that you share my concern. Thank you for standing with Planned Parenthood.
Bryan S. Howard
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:
Chief of Staff Scott Smith — email@example.com
Director of Policy Michael Hunter — firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
In 2011, Planned Parenthood Arizona was forced to stop providing abortion care at a number of our health centers due to legislation that made the provision of this care nearly impossible. Our health center in Flagstaff was one of them.
For the past two-and-a-half years, women living outside of Pima and Maricopa counties have encountered miles of travel, days of wages lost, and several nights away from loved ones in order to access this safe and legal medical procedure. These barriers, created by politicians who have no business interfering with a woman’s personal medical decisions, were faced and overcome by many women — but not all.
After ending abortion care at our Flagstaff Health Center in 2011, we are grateful to have the opportunity to bring this care back to the community. The Flagstaff Health Center is once again providing medication abortion.
Here is a quote from Beth Otterstein, WHNP, our excellent health care provider at the Flagstaff Health Center who has served the community in her capacity for more than 20 years:
“Northern Arizona women who have come to our health center over the last two years have expressed heartache when they learned that abortion was not available in their community. These are the stories that kept us determined. We are fortunate to be able to once again serve the needs of women in this community.”
While this is good news for the women of Northern Arizona, it is important to remember that so many unnecessary barriers continue to exist for women throughout Arizona.
Policymakers are now targeting Planned Parenthood Arizona and other abortion providers in the state with a bill (HB2284) that would allow unannounced inspections of health centers by the Department of Health Services.
Abortion providers are already subject to a number of laws and regulations, including some that specifically pertain to inspections of health care facilities. This bill only further opens the door to harassment of abortion providers and goes too far, by allowing inspections without the safeguard of a warrant requirement.
For decades, Arizona was a state that protected a woman’s right to make personal decisions about her own health care. But for the last three years, we have been a state where politicians institute laws at the insistence of extreme ideological lobbying groups who do not provide medical services, and the result has been disastrous for women’s health and rights.
They won’t stop and neither will we.
Stand with us as we work tirelessly to ensure that women and their families have access to the tools and resources they need to lead healthy lives.
On 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
Earlier this summer, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona sent four University of Arizona students to the annual Youth Organizing and Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., hosted by Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
The conference brings together hundreds of young people from around the country who support the mission of Planned Parenthood and seek to bring awareness around sexual health and reproductive rights to their college campuses. The forum provides an opportunity for young people to learn from each other, share experiences and ideas, and become familiar with the top issues impacting sexual and reproductive health across the country.
Apart from the obvious benefit — getting out of the 100-plus-degree weather here in Arizona — this conference is also a perfect venue to inspire and remind young people about the important role they play in the reproductive health, rights, and justice movement.
We wanted to take a moment to share some of highlights — from our VOX students — about the conference so you, too, can be inspired as we kick off the fall semester.
From Nancy …
Although I have been a youth volunteer with Planned Parenthood for five years now, this was the first time I was able to attend one of these wonderful conferences. The 2013 Youth Organizing and Policy Conference brought together like-minded people and encouraged us to speak out about reproductive justice, equal pay, and health care. Not only was it powerful to listen to advocates from around the country share their stories, but it helped me to understand how just a few voices can change the outlook of elections and large policy decisions.
My favorite part about the conference was being able to walk through the Capitol and speaking with our Congressmen and women about issues we found important. I also thought it was mind-blowing how many young people there were behind the scenes running our governmental offices! It’s encouraging to know that when we reach out to our representatives, we are also reaching out to people of our age who help them in office. Overall I had a great experience in Washington, D.C. I walked away with many new ideas for outreach and also a renewed sense of optimism about our continued fight for our civil liberties.
From Zoe …
My experience at YOPC was truly inspirational. We were able to see and meet so many amazing people. My favorite part of the conference was lobby day, when we were able to meet with five Arizona congressmen and women to discuss issues important to young people and Planned Parenthood. Those who were involved in planning the conference did an incredible job, and I hope that I can attend another conference like this in the future!
From Georgia …
Attending the Youth Organizing and Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., was such an eye-opening and inspiring experience. We were so lucky to be able to meet with five supportive Congressional representatives from Arizona, which really gave me insight into what the lobbying process is like in Congress. While we were pretty exhausted after running around on Capitol Hill all day, the experience itself was extremely energizing and it felt awesome to be able to actively participate in the political process.
The rest of the conference was just as awesome, and incredibly encouraging. In a time when it seems like there is a new anti-choice or anti-woman bill passed every day, it was amazing to see all the great work that is being done to push back across the country. I found it especially heartening to hear from students from states like Texas, North Carolina, and Florida, who are putting up an amazing fight against the choice-limiting legislation that is coming out of their states.
Overall, I came back from the conference motivated and ready to implement what I learned with our VOX chapter next semester.
We all wish the UofA VOX crew best of luck on campus this year and look forward to seeing what they do! To find out about a VOX chapter near you, check out Planned Parenthood’s website.