Meet Our Candidates: Kelli Butler for State Senator, LD 28

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!

Kelli Butler 2014[K]elli Butler is an Arizona native with professional experience in the health care field and a background in community involvement in education. When her district’s current state senator, Adam Driggs, voted in favor of this year’s discriminatory SB 1062, she made the decision to run for his seat in the Senate so that her fellow LD 28 constituents could be represented by someone who would advocate for the rights and dignity of all Arizonans.

The three main components of her platform are investing in public education, creating quality jobs, and protecting children and families. To support these goals, Ms. Butler is in favor of including comprehensive sex education in schools to empower students with the information they need to avoid sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies — the latter of which will help reduce dropout rates among teenage girls. Additionally, increasing access to family planning services can help women make decisions that are best for themselves and their families.

The 28th legislative district is currently represented in the state Senate by Adam Driggs, whose record on reproductive health and rights is dismal. He has consistently voted against Planned Parenthood’s mission, supporting bills that would have reduced access to birth control and preventive services at Planned Parenthood Arizona. He has also voted for HB 2036, the infamous bill that restricts abortion to 20 weeks and defines pregnancy as starting two weeks before conception. Additionally, Driggs has signed the Center for Arizona Policy’s statement denouncing Roe v. Wade.

Kelli Butler is running to represent Legislative District 28, which includes Paradise Valley and parts of Phoenix. She took the time for an interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona on September 23, 2014.


“We must empower people with knowledge and choices so they are able to make the most responsible decisions for themselves.”


Tell us a little about your background.

I’m a proud Arizona native, having grown up within the boundaries of District 28. I attended University of Arizona and majored in elementary education. I’ve been married for 25 years to my husband, Ben Butler, who is a general dentist in Glendale, Arizona. I help manage his dental practice and run our small business. I am familiar with the challenges of small business ownership and with the regulatory and insurance environments of the health care industry. I am a longtime advocate for public schools, having raised my two boys in Phoenix’s Madison School District. I was very involved in their schools and on district-level committees.

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?

HB 2284 opens the door to harassment of women and their health care providers. This measure is simply another attempt by far-right groups like the Center for Arizona Policy to restrict women’s access to safe, responsible choices and health services. Abortion clinics are already highly regulated. HB 2284 was motivated by political ideology; it is part of a concerted effort to throw more roadblocks in the way of women seeking access to reproductive medical services. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Amy Schwabenlender for State Representative, 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!

Amy for AZ[A]my Schwabenlender is running to represent the 20th legislative district in the Arizona House of Representatives. LD 20 encompasses much of Northwest Phoenix, and includes parts of Glendale and Moon Valley. Ms. Schwabenlender stands strong for reproductive health, justice, and, as a longtime supporter of Planned Parenthood, the work we do to stand up for women’s rights.

LD 20 is currently represented in the state House by Paul Boyer, who identifies as “strongly pro-life.” Paul Boyer recently voted for SB 1062, the infamous discrimination bill that received national attention last spring. Anthony Kern, a Republican, is vying for the second seat. Kern has indicated on his Center for Arizona Policy questionnaire that he is opposed to comprehensive sex education and in favor of retaining Arizona’s constitutional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

Because so much is at stake for this House seat, and because Amy Schwabenlender is such a passionate advocate for reproductive rights, we are proud to endorse her campaign. Ms. Schwabenlender was kind enough to talk to Morganne Rosenhaus on September 14, 2014.


“Government and legislators should not be involved in personal health care decisions.”


Tell us a little about your background.

I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, went to college in San Antonio, and have lived in Arizona for 19 years. I worked in sales and marketing for 10 years, and then transitioned to the nonprofit sector, which is where I have been for the past nine years. I currently work at United Way as vice president of community impact, where my job is to end homelessness and hunger in Maricopa County.

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?

These kinds of bills are insulting to women and their families. It feels like women are being picked on just for being women. The rights that women have when they receive their health care shouldn’t be different from men. No one should have their privacy threatened. 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 bricks[P]atty 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

A New Campaign for Back to School

Oftentimes, when we think about back-to-school campaigns, what first comes to mind are the countless promotions on things like school supplies, clothing, backpacks, and laptops. All the essentials you need to start the year off on the right foot.

Rarer are the promotions around health, let alone, gasp, sexual health. But the facts are in. Young people are having sex. By 12th grade, more than 59 percent of high school seniors in Arizona report having sexual intercourse.

Meanwhile, comprehensive sexuality education isn’t a state-mandated requirement for Arizona’s schools, and Arizona teens are more likely to become pregnant than most teens across the United States. Given this information, it isn’t entirely surprising that more than three-quarters of teens, ages 15 to 17, say they need more information about birth control, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections.

This year, do more than find the best bargains on backpacks or laptops to prepare your teen for school. Take some time to share information and resources with your teen about sexual health and healthy relationships so they can be ready for what the school year might bring.

And you don’t have to go it alone! Planned Parenthood Arizona is here to help by offering a back to school promotion of its own as part of the Be Healthy, Be Safe, Be You! campaign.

Teens, along with their parents, can visit their local Planned Parenthood health center to meet with expert health care providers and get more information about sexual health as well as learn about different birth control options in order to find a method that’s right for them. The best part? Planned Parenthood Arizona is offering a $50 savings — waiving the price of the visit to 300 teens — when they purchase their first three packs of pills or Depo shot.

Call to make an appointment — 602-277-PLAN (7526) in the Phoenix area, 520-408-PLAN (7526) in the Tucson area, or toll-free 855-207-PLAN (7526) from elsewhere in Arizona.

At the end of the day, no matter what time of year it is, each and every parent should consider the importance of proactive, ongoing, open communication around sexual health with their teen. It’s simple; the best thing we as a community can do for teens is provide them with the tools and resources to become responsible and confident adults.

Want to learn more about the campaign, get the details on the special August promotion, and find tip sheets for starting the conversation with your teen (or your parent)? Find it all here at www.ppaz.org.

Thank You 2014 Luncheon Attendees!

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.

Sincerely,

Bryan S. Howard
President

What the Holidays Mean for Your Sexual Health

The following guest post comes to us via Morganne Rosenhaus, community engagement coordinator for Planned Parenthood Arizona.

The holidays bring a lot of joy, a lot of yummy treats, and, apparently, a lot of sex.

Rumor has it that during the holidays, we are all increasingly likely to have sex. Perhaps it’s the merry spirit of the holidays or maybe it’s the abundance of holiday parties. It’s tough to discern exactly what it is that accounts for this increase in sex, but the “why” is not nearly as important as the “how.”

Yes, exactly. How are people having sex? Are they having safe and protected sex? Are they having consensual sex? For Planned Parenthood Arizona, the “how” is the most important part.

As an organization that seeks to provide honest information and compassionate care to patients, the “how” matters to us. We want the men, women, and young people we serve to be healthy — to have healthy relationships and to have safe sex.

As one of the largest reproductive health care providers in Arizona, serving more than 60,000 patients each year, it is important to us that our patients have the tools they need to make the best decisions for themselves and their families when it comes to reproductive health.

At the end of the day, Planned Parenthood Arizona is here to help you have a safe, but enjoyable holiday season! Here are some simple steps to stay healthy and protect your reproductive health this holiday season:

  • Use condoms. You can get condoms at any Planned Parenthood Arizona health center.
  • Back up your birth control with emergency contraception. Get Plan B now, just in case your Plan A doesn’t work out like you expected. Yep, we have Plan B too.
  • Start off the New Year healthy by making an appointment to get your annual check up, including an STD screening, at your local Planned Parenthood Arizona health center.

There are 13 Planned Parenthood Arizona health centers throughout Arizona. Be sure to check and see if you have one near you at www.ppaz.org and call 602-277-PLAN (7526) in Phoenix, 520-408-PLAN (7526) in Tucson, or toll-free 855-207-PLAN (7526) from anywhere else in the state to make an appointment today.

So, does the holiday season really correlate with an uptick in passion? The jury is still out on that rumor. But it sure is something more exciting than holiday socks to look forward to each year!

“I Didn’t Want to Believe It”: Lessons from Tuskegee 40 Years Later

Located among longleaf pine and hardwood trees, low ridges, and broad floodplains, Tuskegee, Alabama, is a small town that’s been a big part of American history. Despite a modest population of less than 10,000 people, Tuskegee has been able to boast many notable residents who have made names for themselves in everything from sports to the arts. Among them have been the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American Air Force unit, which served during World War II, and Rosa Parks, the icon of the civil rights movement, who sparked the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955.


The Tuskegee syphilis experiment, conducted from 1932 to 1972, examined the natural progression of untreated syphilis in poor, rural black men — without their informed consent.


Tuskegee, though, is also remembered for one of the worst chapters in the history of medical research. Forty years ago, in 1972, newspapers revealed the story of a syphilis study that was callous in its deception of research participants, and damaging, even today, in the distrust it sowed among black Americans. The study had started another 40 years prior, in 1932, when the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) needed to rescue a financially troubled syphilis intervention in Macon County, Alabama. The intervention was first established in partnership with a Chicago-based philanthropic organization, but its future was uncertain when the organization’s funds dried up during the Great Depression.

Syphilis, the sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum, was the subject of conflicting scientific hypotheses at the time, including the hypothesis that the disease behaved differently in blacks and whites. Interested in testing those hypotheses and faced with disappearing funds for treatment, the USPHS turned its project into a study of untreated syphilis. Also influencing the decision was the fact that the USPHS was discouraged by the low cure rate of the treatments at the time, mercury and bismuth. But by the mid-1940s, penicillin was in use as a proven treatment for syphilis. In spite of that medical advance, the USPHS withheld treatment from a total of 399 infected patients by the time the study ended in 1972. Continue reading