STD Awareness: Prevention vs. Punishment

Before antibiotics, syphilis could kill and gonorrhea was responsible for most cases of infertility. Both diseases could spread from husband to wife to baby, potentially destroying families. So you’d think medical breakthroughs in prevention and cures would be welcomed with open arms.

The actual history, like the humans who create it, is much more complicated.


Compassion, rather than fear and guilt, should guide medical practice.


During World War I, sexually transmitted diseases were a huge problem — second only to the 1918 flu pandemic in the number of sick days they caused (7 million, if you’re counting). The Roaring Twenties saw a sexual revolution, and by World War II, the military was once more fretting about losing manpower to debilitating infections that drew men away from the front lines and into the sick bays.

The armed forces did what it could to suppress prostitution and distract soldiers with recreational activities. But the human sex drive could not be contained: The vast majority of U.S. soldiers were having sex — even an estimated half of married soldiers were not faithful to their wives during WWII. Victory depended on soldiers’ health, so during both WWI and WWII, the military provided its sexually active soldiers with “prophylaxis,” medical treatments that could reduce risk for venereal disease — or VD, as sexually transmitted diseases were called back then.

Anyone who thinks condoms are a hassle or “don’t feel good” should read medical historian Allan M. Brandt’s description of a WWI-era prophylactic station, which soldiers were instructed to visit after sexual contact: Continue reading

Mike Pence’s America

mike-penceSince the election of Donald Trump in November, countless people have reveled in the hope that perhaps some obscure constitutional gambit or criminal indictment would take place preventing him from taking office on January 20.


Mike Pence’s legislative record stands in opposition to his self-proclaimed reverence for life.


The sentiment is understandable to those of us who abhor this man and all that he stands for, but such a scenario would present an awful alternative in the form of Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who would take Trump’s place in the Oval Office as our new president.

While Trump has spoken about his frightening and detestable political views, he has no legislative record to back them up. Former congressman and current Indiana governor, Mike Pence, however, has a lengthy one.

And it is positively horrifying. Continue reading

Tipping the Balance: Why Primary Elections Matter

Arizona state Senate“We will remember in November,” say activists vowing to effect change at the polls. General elections, held in November, are contests between the candidates nominated by their political parties and decided by voters. They are phenomenally important, as their outcomes determine who our presidents, senators, representatives, and other legislators will be.


Not all Democratic candidates support reproductive rights, so check our list of endorsed candidates before voting a Democratic ballot!


What rhymes with August? “You’ll eat sawdust in August”? “We want laws just in August”? I’ll work on that, but for now you should know that the primary elections will be held in Arizona on August 26, and many important races will be decided in August rather than November. How is that possible? Sometimes, only one political party has candidates running for an office, meaning that whoever wins their party’s nomination in the primary election won’t face opposition in November.

In three such races, all featuring Democrats running for the state Senate, reproductive rights are at stake. So, in case you were wondering why voting in the primary elections is so important, read on to learn about these crucial races! And tell your friends in these Phoenix-area legislative districts that the decisions they make at the polls have the potential to bring balance to our state legislature in terms of reproductive health care access. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Holly Lyon for State Representative, LD 11

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 26, 2014, and early voting began 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!

Holly LyonRetired U.S. Air Force Colonel Holly Lyon is running for Legislative District 11 state representative. Reaching from the outskirts of Tucson up the Interstate-10 corridor, LD 11 comprises both Pima and Pinal counties, including SaddleBrooke, Marana, and Casa Grande. By running, Lyon hopes to bring balance back to the district in which she feels the majority views are not currently represented.

On July 18, 2014, Lyon took the time to speak with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona and detail her views on accessible health care and reaching out to Arizona’s youth through comprehensive sex education.


“Women should not be made to feel guilty or ashamed when deciding to have a legal health care procedure.”


Tell us a little about your background.

I am a retired Air Force colonel with 26 years of service. In my last job, I was assigned to the Pentagon as director of education and training for 90,000 IT personnel. Prior to my U.S. Air Force service, I taught seventh grade for one year. After my U.S. Air Force service, I worked for two corporations before “retiring” again to move to Arizona to be closer to my mother who has lived in Green Valley for 38 years.

I was born in Port Angeles, Washington, but also grew up in a military family as my father and step-father were in the Coast Guard and Navy respectively.

Since moving to Arizona, I’ve served in several volunteer positions within and outside my residential community of SaddleBrooke.

Why do you think it’s important that people make their own health care decisions?

Each of us must live with our own health. Our bodies belong to only us, and we have to live with what we have and can make of them. We try to make the best health care decisions we can, under each of our unique circumstances. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Aaron Marquez for State Senator, LD 27

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 26, 2014, and early voting began 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!

531935_1418794804999491_878685755_nAaron Marquez is running for the Arizona State Senate in Legislative District 27, a district that encompasses part of Central Phoenix as well as the communities of Guadalupe, South Mountain, and Laveen. Mr. Marquez has focused his campaign on the idea of building bridges — in the form of strengthening education and the economy — for a stronger Arizona.

Mr. Marquez faces primary opposition from current House Rep. Catherine Miranda, who has a voting record in the legislature that clearly shows she does not support women’s health issues or the ability for Arizonans to make their own health care decisions.

Mr. Marquez was kind enough to take the time for this telephone interview, transcribed below, on July 23, 2014.


“I just want to make sure that the Arizona my daughter grows up in is an Arizona that always respects women.”


Tell us a little about your background.

I was raised in Arizona. I had a single mom and an older sister who were both very influential in raising me. I went through K-12 public schools in Arizona.

I started at the University of Arizona, but something important happened that first semester of college, for me and for the country — 9/11 happened. I realized I wanted to find a way to serve the country. I tried to get into the Army at that point but ended up being medically disqualified due to childhood asthma.

I looked for other options to serve and discovered the AmeriCorps program. I ended up moving to Boston as an AmeriCorps volunteer to work in inner city schools. I did that for two years, running tutoring programs and learning programs for middle and high school students.

Then I took a third year off of school — my folks thought I was never going back to college — to work for the Kerry campaign in 2004. I realized, after two years of giving community service full time, that political service and governance is how you effect the most change for the most amount of people. If good people don’t run for public office, then you have people who poorly represent our country and our state and — in my particular race — in District 27. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Better late than never: Pregnant women in the military who were victims of rape will now have access to abortion. (HuffPo)
  • A new condom, which delivers an anti-HIV drug and dissolves after use, is being developed! (i09)
  • Ireland is finally going to legalize life-saving abortions after their complicity in the death of a 31-year-old woman. (ABC News)
  • The Washington Post is dropping knowledge on how Planned Parenthood rocked the 2012 elections. (WaPo)
  • What happens to women who are denied abortions? Nothing good. (i09)
  • Deaths related to unsafe abortions and abortion bans around the world are wildly underestimated. (Salon)
  • Further proving they could give a damn about post-born children, Michigan lawmakers eliminate tax credit for children, prefer tax credit for fetuses. (Jezebel)
  • Pediatrics Group Calls for Easier Access to Emergency Contraception (ABC News)
  • Mississippi’s sole abortion clinic lives to fight another day. (CRR)
  • Another day, another moron talking out of his keister about rape — this time it’s a California judge who says that a woman’s body can shut down to prevent itself from being raped. (Guardian)
  • Our beloved home, Arizona, has launched a manipulative government website to shame women out of getting abortions. (Jezebel)
  • A new study shows women who waited 15 years after their first period to have children had 60 percent less chance of developing an aggressive form of breast cancer. (The Atlantic)
  • Dear guy who founded Domino’s: Your religious beliefs should have no impact on the reproductive health of your female employees. Oh, and another thing — your pizza sucks. (The Daily Meal)
  • Petty, imbecilic Karen Handel, formerly of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, wants the world to know that Planned Parenthood hijacked the color pink from them. They owned the color, after all. (Feministe)

Meet Our Candidates: Pat Fleming for State Senator, LD 14

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!

Pat Fleming has lived in Arizona for four decades, with roots going back to Missouri, where she was born near her grandparents’ farm. Her military ties brought her to Sierra Vista, where she continues to live — and seeks to serve.


“A licensed pharmacist is licensed to dispense prescriptions, not determine morality.”


Fleming supports access to preventive health care and education. “Protecting women’s access to contraception is critical,” she has stated. Elaborating upon her positions in an exclusive interview with us, she indicated support for comprehensive sex education because of its role in the “prevention of unwanted and unplanned pregnancies.” As a member of the state Senate, Fleming will stand for commonsense values such as comprehensive sex education, health care access, and family planning. She will also represent the needs of her rural constituents, whose access to health care is limited.

Fleming is seeking office in the newly drawn Legislative District 14, which stretches from east Pima County into rural areas of the state, including Cochise and Greenlee counties, as well as most of Graham County. She generously took time for an interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona on October 1, 2012.

Tell us a little about your background.

I have been proud to call southeastern Arizona home for 43 years. After retiring from Ft. Huachuca in 2005, I ran my first campaign for the Arizona House of Representatives from LD 25, losing by only 764 votes. In 2008, I ran again and handily won a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives. I was honored to have served one term representing the good people of the former Legislative District 25, however, I lost my bid for re-election in 2010.

I live south of Sierra Vista with my husband Bob Fleming. We have been married almost 11 years, and have a combined family that includes five children and 12 grandchildren. I have remained a participating and involved civilian representative and continue community activism as I run for the Arizona Senate from the new LD 14.

In the previous legislative session, there were a lot of bad bills that negatively affected access to birth control (HB2625), funding for family planning (HB2800), abortion (HB2036), and unbiased information about unintended pregnancies in public schools (SB1009). What kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it’s important to fight for it?

If elected, I will work to reverse these radical, ideologically based laws. I will work to include easier access to contraceptive medications and devices as part of a woman’s health care options. Government bureaucrats should never be in charge of personal health care choices. However, without major changes in the demographics or partisan elected officials, in both the Arizona Senate and Arizona House, none of this is going to happen. Continue reading