Arizona Women are Watching
By Michelle Steinberg, director of public policy–of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona
Arizona’s legislative session resulted in a number of unprecedented attacks on women’s health by politicians who dedicated plenty of energy to restricting women’s access to care in my home state. By pushing bills that prevent women from accessing birth control, protect doctors who willfully withhold medical information from women, and effectively defund Planned Parenthood in the state, Arizona has become a dangerous place for women’s health.
Governor Brewer recently signed into law HB 2800 which could prohibit Planned Parenthood Arizona health centers from receiving public funding, ultimately putting services at risk for thousands of Arizonans who depend on affordable access to preventive and life-saving treatments. But the fact that Arizonans have been coming to Planned Parenthood’s nonprofit health centers for their health care needs for more than 75 years was of no consequence to Governor Brewer and she proceeded to sign the bill into law despite objections.
Brewer even acknowledges that she is imposing her own will upon others, “we choose sides and there are winners and there are losers.'' And when asked what rights the minority have, she said, “Well the majority wins….every time I’ve ever seen the (voting) board down there (at the legislature), the majority wins.” Brewer fails to understand that women need the best care they can get, not politically motivated judgments of politicians who so willfully impose their views upon others. There’s no denying that these issues are complicated, but politicians should not be involved in the personal, private medical decisions best left up to a woman, her faith and her family, with the counsel of her doctor.
But not all of Arizona’s politicians are completely out of touch on women’s health. We do have some voices of reason. Here’s what these voices of reason had to say on protecting women’s health…
From the eighth district, congressional candidate Ron Barber: “No matter where you stand on abortion, taking away access to basic health care for women — from cancer screenings to access to birth control– is unacceptable. The State Legislature was wrong to vote to block these federal funds, and I am very disappointed that the Governor chose to sign this bill. Planned Parenthood and similar clinics provide a range of health care services for women– defunding basic care for women is just plain wrong.”
And from U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Rich Carmona: "I was deeply disappointed by Governor Brewer's decision to sign the bill that bans funding for Planned Parenthood and other groups that provide women's health services.”
Too many legislators let politics and overheated rhetoric get in the way of common sense solutions. Planned Parenthood provides a vast array of women's health care services, often reaching under-served communities where health and economic disparities make access to quality care difficult. It's an embarrassment that our career politicians are prioritizing their own personal politics over finding solutions that actually help people, but not everyone is willing to throw women’s health under the bus. Ron Barber and Dr. Richard Carmona have championed women’s health issues, supporting women in the state of Arizona! And a special reminder for Women Are Watching supporters in the 8th Congressional District- early voting started May 17.