Telling the Truth About Abortion Politics

Sens. Yee and Barto asked. We answered. It’s Our Turn to share the truth behind abortion politics. We have submitted the following op-ed to the Arizona Republic, but they have not (yet?) published it.

Thank You PP croppedAs a medical professional, I am dismayed at the recent “Our Turn” published in the Arizona Republic titled, “Make doctors tell the truth on abortion drug.” I would like to do just that — tell the truth and correct the record, because the opinion by legislators Barto and Yee was laden with revisionist history, misstatements of legal fact, and most important, non-medical junk science.

Doctors practice up-to-date, evidence-based medicine. I appreciate lawmakers repealing their intrusive foray into the practice of medicine, SB 1324. This law attempted to mandate how doctors dispense abortion medication according to an outdated, 16-year-old protocol contained in the original drug label. SB 1324 was an attempt to re-start a legal case that Arizona was losing. Despite the FDA’s update of the drug label to reflect current medical practice, policymakers and the governor stubbornly insisted on enacting SB 1324. Why, I cannot imagine. The repeal of this legislation was certainly welcome.

Real doctors reject junk science. More disturbing than the FDA label issue is Sens. Yee and Barto’s assertion that “at least 170 healthy babies have been born when medication abortions were reversed.” There is no scientific support for this assertion, just as there is no peer-reviewed medical evidence for the whole notion of “abortion reversal.” A handful of doctors with a moral agenda have attempted to use progesterone to “stop” a medication abortion. However, there is nothing in the literature to justify this practice, save for one report of six informal clinical anecdotes. No significant sample size, no control group, no oversight, no peer review. Regardless, last year these same legislators passed SB 1318, violating physicians’ and patients’ constitutional rights by forcing physicians to inform their patients that it is possible to reverse a medication abortion, which is untrue. Continue reading

Ignoring the Forecast: Eleven Candidates to Beat the Red District Blues

The following post was written by Marcy, Matt, and Anna.

Past election patterns and current forecasts can give pundits and the public a good idea of what to expect on Election Day, but they guarantee nothing. A new, unique, or charismatic candidate can inspire an unexpected voter turnout and make predictions less reliable — while low-turnout elections, on the other hand, commonly favor the status quo and conservative candidates. That’s why we’re spotlighting candidates whose qualities are outstanding — but whose districts haven’t always favored candidates like them. Extraordinary odds call for extraordinary candidates to overcome them, and we think these are the candidates for the job.

Let’s meet some of our endorsed candidates — all Democrats — who are currently campaigning in districts with Republican advantages.

LDs 16 20 21 22 25

Legislative districts 16, 20, 21, 22, and 25 on a map

Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Patty Kennedy for State Senator, LD 20

The Arizona general election will be held on November 4, 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 general election, you must register to vote by October 6 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2014!

Patty Kennedy bricksPatty Kennedy is running to represent the 20th legislative district in the state Senate. LD 20 encompasses Northwest Phoenix, including parts of Glendale and Moon Valley. Ms. Kennedy stands strong for reproductive health and justice, opposing legislation like HB 2284 and recognizing the fundamental right of an individual to choose what is best for herself or himself when it comes to health care.

LD 20 is currently represented in the state Senate by Kimberly Yee, whose record on reproductive health and rights is abysmal. She has consistently voted against Planned Parenthood’s mission, supporting bills that attempted to reduce access to birth control and preventive services at Planned Parenthood Arizona. In 2012, she sponsored HB 2036, which not only threatens doctors with criminal penalties for performing abortions after 20 weeks, but also goes so far as to define pregnancy as beginning two weeks before conception. Kimberly Yee has signed the Center for Arizona Policy’s statement denouncing Roe v. Wade and was rated by Salon as one of the Top 5 most extreme anti-abortion lawmakers in the United States.

Because so much is at stake in this senate seat, and because Patty Kennedy is such a passionate advocate for reproductive rights, we are proud to endorse her campaign. Ms. Kennedy was kind enough to talk to Morganne Rosenhaus on September 12, 2014.


“The right to make health care decisions in one’s best interest is vitally important and fundamental to our society.”


Tell us a little about your background.

I grew up and have lived in the area that is currently LD 20 most of my life. I have raised my family in this district and own a small business that is located in the district. I have served on the Governing Board of the Glendale Union High School District for the past four years and have served as the board president for the past two years. I will be serving on the Board again for the next four years, as only two candidates turned in valid signatures and there are only two seats up for election.

Earlier this year, the state legislature passed HB 2284, which permits the health department to inspect abortion clinics without a warrant. What do you think about this new law? In contrast to bills like HB 2284, what kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it is important to fight for it?

HB 2284 is not a good piece of legislation. It is both unnecessary and possibly illegal on the grounds of being a possible invasion of privacy for those patients who are at the facility at the time of an unannounced inspection. This bill should be repealed and I would work toward that end. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Michael Powell for State Senator, LD 20

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!

Michael Powell is a candidate for state senator for Legislative District 20, which is located in Maricopa County and covers parts of Phoenix and Glendale. Powell has contributed to civic life in Phoenix’s West Valley for many years. While he was with the City of Avondale, he worked on dozens of successful grant proposals to develop and improve the city, and for the last 12 years he has been an instructor at Estrella Mountain Community College, teaching classes in leadership, economics, and the U.S. Constitution.  His spouse of seven years, Patricia, is a registered nurse and medical case manager.


“Health care is a matter of personal privacy.”


Because of his positions on women’s health and choice issues, Powell has received an endorsement from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona.  He generously took the time for an interview with PPAA on September 13, 2012.

Tell us a little about your background and how you feel it would inform your decisions as a member of the Arizona Senate.

First, I am an educator and workplace performance improvement professional. This background helps me study and communicate complex issues with a clarity that most people can understand.

Second, when I was younger I was in need of health services and had no insurance. I was fortunate to have Planned Parenthood health services available and found the staff helpful and thorough when discussing my options.

Third, I am not dogmatic in my views and do not seek to impose a singular worldview on others. As a man, I do not believe I have the right to dictate the type of health care women should receive. I do not have the right to dictate the type of birth control women use. I especially do not have the right to interfere with choices made between women in consultation with their professionally certified doctors. Continue reading

Death of a Bill, Birth of an Activist

Editor’s Note: Liza Love, an Arizona pro-choice activist, testified against House Bill 2838 at the Arizona House of Representatives on February 15, 2012. She shares her experience speaking out for reproductive rights.

I am one of millions. We all have some sort of story that reflects the positive impact of Planned Parenthood in our world. There are some of us who honor that role loudly, there are those who allow it to have a quiet sort of resonance, and there are even some who refuse to acknowledge it at all, but that makes it no less true.


We must get to a place where ridiculous ideology is unacceptable from our leaders, where science and facts are not vilified. That will happen when our voices are louder and more coherent.


I have wanted to give back to Planned Parenthood for a long time. Not having much monetarily to share, I have given what I could over the years, yet still felt a need to do more. When I read about HB2838, which would ban abortions at 20 weeks, even in the case of fetal anomalies, I was astonished! I had just moved and had a ton of unpacking to do, but I knew I would be at the hearing for HB2838 to make my voice heard. The plan was that I was going to show up at the Arizona House of Representatives early, meet with my fellow pro-choice activists outside, and get the story of someone who couldn’t be present so that I could share it on his or her behalf. It would allow me to support women and health and see the process of lawmaking all at the same time.

When I arrived at the Capitol, I ended up in this tiny room that was so full it would be an understatement to compare it to being packed like sardines! There were people everywhere!  Rep. Cecil P. Ash, the chairman, was reading some guidelines for the hearing, and then some proposed amendments from Rep. Matt Heinz were being explained to the panel, and ultimately, all but one was voted down. That alone was eye-opening. First of all, Dr. Heinz is a friend to women’s reproductive health and overall well-being, and his efforts to make sure his peers are informed with facts and details was refreshing. Continue reading

Action Alert: House Bill 2838 Is Resurrected as House Bill 2036

All of your calls and emails really made a difference! HB2838 — the abortion bill that would impose harsh felonies and possible prison time on the physicians who provide care to me and my family — was pulled from the House Health Committee agenda and was considered dead!

But…

Rep. Kimberly Yee, the sponsor of the bill, has found another bill to use as a striker for 2838. House Bill 2838 has just become House Bill 2036.

A strike-all amendment is a little-known backdoor legislative maneuver that allows lawmakers to strip the contents of a bill and replace everything below the title with new bill language that died along the way, like HB2838, effectively resurrecting a dead bill.

House Bill 2036 now includes all the same language that was in HB2838. Anti-choice legislators and the Center for Arizona Policy have pulled out all the stops — even ignored the cries of constituents who opposed this bad bill. HB2036 is going to the Senate Judiciary Committee this Monday, February 27, and we have to make sure we show our power again! We helped kill this bill in the House — I know together, we can do it again in the Senate!!

TWO ACTIONS NEEDED NOW!

  1. Call Senate President Sen. Steve Pierce at 602-926-5584 and tell him: “Please do NOT allow HB2036 to be heard. It was already killed and it does not deserve to come back. I do not want doctors to have to face these kinds of liabilities and threats of jail.”
  2. CLICK HERE to send an important message to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

We can kill this bill forever!