Ethan Orr’s Record Reveals Extreme Views Behind Moderate Branding

In the 9th legislative district, we endorse both Randall Friese and Victoria Steele ... not Ethan Orr!

In the 9th legislative district, we endorse both Randall Friese and Victoria Steele … not Ethan Orr!

Ethan Orr brands himself on his campaign website as a leader who “has worked across party lines” and will “bring people together to create community solutions.” It’s easy to see why his branding has gained currency — but with a little digging into his record, it’s just as easy to see how hollow it is.

The representative for Legislative District 9, who is running for re-election this November, seemed to be walking his talk back in February when he stopped in with state Sen. Steve Farley at Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria in Tucson. Reacting to SB 1062, a bill that would have allowed businesses the right to refuse service to customers because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, Rocco’s put up a sign in defiance of the bill’s bigotry: “We reserve the right to refuse service to Arizona lawmakers.” The gesture of protest was soon in the news and spreading through social media, receiving accolades from people who thought it was the perfect response to a terrible bill. Orr and Farley decided to pay the pizzeria a visit, Orr carrying a print-out of the Senate vote that showed his opposition to the bill.


A little digging into Ethan Orr’s record reveals a legislator who doesn’t stand for LGBTQ rights or reproductive justice.


Unfortunately, there’s more to Orr’s record on LGBTQ issues than this story. Orr was absent from the list of sponsors when LD 9’s other representative, Victoria Steele, introduced SB 1443, another bill that addressed discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity — but this time prohibiting, rather than allowing, discrimination. The same goes for SCR 1012, a bill Steele and other legislators introduced to recognize same-sex marriage. Orr stood up to a bill that would have allowed more wrongs, but his inaction on SB 1443 and SCR 1012 leaves voters to wonder if that’s the limit of his concerns.

Orr is also credited for voting in favor of Gov. Brewer’s Medicaid expansion. But given Brewer’s threat to veto all other legislation until other Republicans fell in line with her — and her promises to help those who did fall in line through the support of her Arizona’s Legacy PAC — Orr’s positions when there are no unusual incentives at stake might be more telling. And his positions look dismal when it comes to women’s health. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: David Bradley for State Senator, LD 10

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 26, 2014, with early voting beginning on July 31. 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!

10 Bradley, David_16Incumbent state Senator David Bradley, who Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona interviewed in 2012, is seeking once again to represent the interests of Legislative District 10 — an area that includes much of eastern Tucson and portions of central Tucson — in the Arizona legislature. During his most recent term, he has sponsored or co-sponsored a number of bills designed to reverse state-mandated barriers to abortion access and to provide accurate, accessible health care for Arizonans.

Mr. Bradley kindly took the time to participate in this interview on July 10, 2014.


“Medical decisions should be made based on science and not the philosophical positions of legislators.”


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?

Medicaid expansion and the creation of the new child welfare agency were both positive and hopeful accomplishments of this legislative term. The existence of a reasonable center in the legislature is also reason to be positive about the legislative session. Much, of course, rides on the governor’s race this year, with hope that a reasonable individual is elected.

Last legislative session, you voted against HB 2284, the warrantless inspection bill, 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?

I focus on the personal decisions that a woman makes, hopefully done in consultation with others, [which] should be done both with privacy and safety. Opponents to abortion are free to make their case in just about any forum they choose, but that should not include the clinics where those services are delivered. In the end, the final decision is for the woman making it, and that decision should be made without coercion or intimidation from anyone. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Victoria Steele for State Representative, LD 9

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 26, 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.” In order to vote in the primaries, you must register to vote by July 28 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2014!

Steele,-Victoria_10Victoria Steele has represented Tucson’s Legislative District 9 in the Arizona House of Representatives since 2012, and is now running for reelection. To get an idea of why we’re so excited to support her, check out her recent op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star, in which she discusses how last month’s Supreme Court decisions might embolden foes of reproductive justice here in Arizona. We’re also proud to introduce you to her here!

We had a wonderful conversation on July 10 at Raging Sage in Tucson, where Ms. Steele talked to us about her accomplishments and goals; her commitment to abortion access and comprehensive sexuality education; and her Republican opponent, Ethan Orr, whose voting record on reproductive health is out of step with the views held by the majority of his constituency. While you can hope that Ethan Orr will vote in favor of women’s health, you can know that Victoria Steele and her fellow Democratic candidate Dr. Randall Friese will do so!

Read on to get to know Ms. Steele even better!


“It’ll be even harder to get our rights back if we’ve lost them all, so let’s not let that happen.”


Interviewer: I’m glad we get to meet in person this time! 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?

Representative Steele: I was really excited to see that we were able to finally defeat SB 1062 [a bill that would have allowed discrimination on religious grounds, for example against LGBTQ people]. That gives me a lot of hope. The only reason that happened is because the community got mad. The governor’s veto came way too late as far as I’m concerned.

That was a very hopeful thing, because it showed what I really suspected was true, that a majority of the people do not feel that we have the right to discriminate. There is a very vocal minority that feels otherwise. To me, that is hopeful.

A poll of Arizona Republicans showed they were in favor of vetoing SB 1062. It just shows how quickly the tide is turning, which is pretty exciting to me.

It is. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

More woman-shaming from the abstinence-only crowd.

More woman-shaming from the abstinence-only crowd.

  • Abstinence-only education: Showing kids every day how filthy and disgusting they automatically become if they have sex. Which symbol of filth are you, fellow non-abstinent people? A used piece of tape? Chewed-up gum? It’s like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” of how gross they can make you feel for doing something human beings are mostly naturally inclined to do. Anyway, I’m a black woman so I think the most fitting choice for me would be “dirty chocolate.” (Think Progress)
  • Here are all the states committing egregious sex education blunders. It’s pretty much sad all over, folks. (Huff Po)
  • Maybe that’s why 80 percent of teens have sex without first being educated about it. (Daily Beast)
  • Pro-choice Arizonans, we have successfully gained an extended injunction against the new and terrible legislation that would cut off women’s access to medication abortion in the early stages of pregnancy and instead force them to undergo a surgical abortion — assuming they can access it. (Phoenix New Times)
  • The teen birth rate may be at record lows, but the CDC says (and we agree) it’s still too high in the grand scheme of things! (NBC News)
  • You know how the Arizona Department of Health Services focuses so much on stuff like disease prevention and control, vaccinations, environmental health, maintaining vital records, and all of that unimportant junk? Well, the sinister, diabolical forces at the Center for Arizona Policy want them to take time away from all that crap to start doing surprise inspections at abortion clinics. Did something seriously dangerous or illegal happen at an Arizona abortion clinic to spur this on? Nope! (East Valley Tribune)
  • There are 30 states that require pregnant women to remain on life support no matter what. THIRTY STATES! Living will or not. Do we need any more proof that women are largely seen as incubators and not people? Repeating this again: THIRTY STATES!!! (RH Reality Check)
  • Sometimes when I hear Republicans speaking, I feel as if I’m drowning in a tsunami of stupidity. Missouri state Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger says that buying a car and selecting carpet are decisions just as major as considering abortion. These are things he personally has to think about a lot before just plunging right in, you know?! That is actually the logic this clown is using to try to mandate a 72-hour waiting period for women considering an abortion. It’s as if he and the rest of the forced birth advocates don’t understand that most women have already thought about what they’d do in the event of an unintended pregnancy. It’s something almost all sexually active, heterosexual women have contemplated. These “waiting periods” have been shown to have virtually no effect on a woman’s final decision whether or not to have an abortion. Please, Rep. Gatschenberger, get out of the legislature and go pick out some flooring. (Salon)

Special Message from Planned Parenthood Arizona President and CEO Bryan Howard

bryan headshot 600In 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.

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

Roe v. Wade at 40: Lost Ground and the Moment to Reclaim It

As 2012 came to a close, one of the last attacks on reproductive freedom in Arizona was in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where the state of Arizona fought to defund Planned Parenthood. The state was appealing an injunction against HB2800, a new measure that would strip funding for family planning services from any health care facility that provides abortions.


The 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade should serve as a call to action to defend reproductive freedom.


Following a year that saw more state-level legislation to restrict abortion access than any year in the last three decades, 2012 saw no reprieve. Besides HB2800, Arizona lawmakers voted on bills that barred employer coverage for birth control and access to medically necessary abortions. In response to part of the latter bill, the Arizona Department of Health Service’s website added a new section on abortion, which made its debut late last year, called “A Woman’s Right to Know” — a guide that employed scare tactics and other manipulation to deter women from seeking abortions.

Arizona reflected what was happening nationally. According to a recent study by the Guttmacher Institute, Arizona has joined a new majority of states that are “solidly hostile to abortion rights.” In 2000, a third of women of reproductive age lived in such states. Today, more than half do. Since 2000, the number of states considered hostile to abortion doubled from 13 to 26. Continue reading