Despicable Steve Benson

First, kudos to Greg Patterson for catching this one and posting on EspressoPundit. (Glad to see you’re back posting on a regular basis.)

I admit, I don’t run to the Arizona Republic first thing in the morning to read what the left-of-center media is disseminating so I missed this horribly despicable cartoon by Steve Benson that ran on May 10th.

SteveBensonCartoon

It’s probably a good thing that I’m no longer the Communications Director at the Arizona Republican Party because I would have had a hard time letting this one go until Benson and management both apologized AND Benson was summarily terminated.

For starters, Benson dragged politics into a horrifying criminal situation by showing just how insensitive the left can be injecting their political agenda into a criminal matter. By Benson’s logic, abortion should have been safe and accessible for Ariel Castro to continue covering up his evil crimes – “destroying the evidence.”

Secondly, Benson is so far removed from the real world of what happens among conservative people of faith who personally put their time, talent and treasure to work helping women in real-world crappy situations through crisis pregnancy centers, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, foster care, the list goes on. Benson, we really do put our money where our mouth is.

This type of trash by Steve Benson  is wrong, beyond civility, insensitive and even evil. He needs to go away permanently where he can no longer pollute our political discourse.

Phoenix Abortionist Laura Mercer & Family Planning Associates Medical Group Exposed for Late Term Abortions

This ought to make your blood boil!

This is happening in Arizona right now.

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Pro-Life activist Lila Rose just released the following video showing late term abortions AND possible infanticide taking place right here in Arizona!

As we watch shocked and disgusted the trial of baby and woman killer Kermit Gosnell, we are now on notice that this practice is taking place right here in Arizona!

Here is the press release put out by Live Action a few days ago:

Phoenix, AZ Late-Term Abortion Center Exposed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: APRIL 28, 2013

Third Undercover Video Investigation Exposes Abortion Doctor and Clinic Worker Who Would Leave Babies Born Alive from Failed Abortion to Die

Six-Month Investigation Reveals Illegal, Inhuman, and Gruesome Practices at Abortion Centers across the Country

Arlington, VA: Live Action today released a third undercover video exposing Phoenix, AZ late-term abortion doctor Laura Mercer and an abortion center counselor who would leave a newborn, struggling for life after a failed abortion, to die. This is the third in a series of undercover videos, found at www.liveaction.org/inhuman, involving the illegal and inhuman practices of late-term abortion centers, as well as describing in horrific detail what happens to the mother and baby in a late-term abortion.

When asked by the undercover investigator what would happen if the baby were to survive the abortion, Linda, an abortion center counselor, admits they would not help the baby:

Sometimes they are [alive], yeah. But it doesn’t–it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will come out whole. ‘Cause they use suction, plus they use instruments so sometimes the fetuses don’t come out–you know, it’s not complete…

Investigator: But if it does come out whole…I mean, are–will they resuscitate it? Like, will I have to take care of it?

Linda: Uh-uh… No… They do not resuscitate.

“This video is just the latest evidence of a disturbing and horrifying trend occurring inside America’s abortion industry,” said Lila Rose of Lila Action. “The horrors of the Kermit Gosnell trial are a widespread problem in this industry. Dismembering and destroying innocent children, leaving born babies to die, injecting poison into the chest of a tiny child so that he slowly dies in his own mother’s womb – this is all standard operating procedure in the abortion industry. But these children are human beings. They have the same basic human rights and deserve the same protections all of us enjoy.”

Doctor Mercer tells an undercover Live Action investigator who is 24 weeks pregnant:

We do the injection, which is a quick poke through your belly, um, and that stops the fetal heart, so that makes it so, if you were to deliver, there shouldn’t be movement. There shouldn’t be any of those things… Yes we induce a demise–an intrauterine demise… Um, death.

Then the Live Action investigator asks whether an ambulance should be called if the mother goes into labor during the two-day procedure. Dr. Mercer instructs the investigator not to call:

No, call us first…if you showed up in an average emergency room with an emergency room physician who’s not a gynecologist, probably has never seen or done a termination, they will treat you as though you are somebody with a desired pregnancy…

Investigator: So they would basically like try to take care of it.

Dr. Mercer: Right they would intervene and do all kinds of crazy things that you don’t need tohave done to you…

Live Action President Lila Rose condemned the “barbaric, inhuman, and deeply disturbing” practices espoused by Dr. Mercer and the late-term abortion center staff at Family Planning Associates Medical Group. “The testimony we’ve documented in this abortion facility strongly suggests that staff there are committing infanticide,” said Rose. “The Family Planning Associates Medical Group needs to be investigated immediately, and delicensed. Women are at risk during these brutal procedures, and this is a matter of life and death for these children.”

Earlier in the week, Live Action released videos (www.liveaction.org/inhuman) of a Bronx, NY abortion counselor describing how a born-alive baby would be placed in a jar of toxic “solution” to ensure death, and of a D.C. doctor who would leave a baby born alive after a botched abortion to die. The videos are part of Live Action’s six-month undercover investigation shedding light on the illegal, inhuman, and gruesome practices of numerous abortion centers throughout the country.

Rose is calling for Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Attorney’s office to investigate and prosecute Dr. Mercer and the Family Planning Associates Medical Group, who admit they violate federal law. Rose also called on local health and law enforcement officials to investigate Dr. Mercer and Family Planning Associates Medical Group and put an end to illegal and inhuman practices.

From the letter to General Holder: “We urge you, as the U.S. Attorney General, to speak out against this injustice, and to see to it that Dr. Mercer and the Family Planning Associates Medical Group are duly investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law… I hope that you will do everything in your power to speak out for victims of infanticide – both the children and the women – and to protect the human rights of our weakest citizens.”

Live Action is a youth-led movement dedicated to building a culture of life and ending the human rights abuse of abortion. The group uses new media to educate the public about the humanity of the unborn and investigative journalism to expose threats against the vulnerable and defenseless. More information at LiveAction.org.

Funding Abortion Providers: Prop 204’s Unintended Consequences

Center for Arizona Policy and Arizona Right to Life announced opposition to Proposition 204 today due to vague and ill-defined language contained in the proposition that could allow up to $100 million of taxpayer dollars to be given to abortion providers annually.

While the proposition has been billed as an education measure, it creates a $100 million slush fund that a governor could allocate for “family stability” and “basic needs” that “lead to family stability”. These terms are not clearly defined in the proposition, leaving the door open for chief executives to use this section to funnel monies to abortion providers.

“Center for Arizona Policy typically does not get involved in tax policy. In 2010, we were neutral on the temporary one-cent sales tax. But after our legal analysis, we found that Prop 204’s vague language could be abused by future governors to subsidize an industry that ends the lives of preborn children and hurts thousands of women every day,” said Cathi Herrod, President of Center for Arizona Policy.

Herrod released an online advertisement explaining her opposition to Prop 204 today.

“Voters are getting more than they bargained for under Prop 204,” said Erik Twist, board chairman of Arizona Right to Life. “This is truly a Trojan horse. What’s being sold as an education proposal is actually a $1 billion permanent sales tax increase that could be used to finance abortion providers under the guise of funding “basic needs.”

Under section 41-113 in Prop 204, a “Family-stability and self-sufficiency fund” is created, which according to section 42-5029.02, is appropriated $100 million every year. Besides the fact that this section has nothing to do with putting more money into Arizona classrooms, the obscure language in 41-113 could be exploited by a pro-abortion Governor.

Read the ballot language here.

For more information, contact Aaron Baer, 602.424.2525, go to www.azpolicy.org, or www.azrtl.org.

Center for Arizona Policy promotes and defends the foundational values of life, marriage and family, and, religious liberty.

Arizona Right to Life is the state’s oldest, largest and strongest pro-life organization, committed to preserving, protecting and promoting the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.

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Giving Thanks in Remembrance

1) Giving Thanks in Remembrance – May we never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation. Throughout generations, brave soldiers have risked everything in pursuit of life and liberty. Today, their sacrifice enables you and I to stand for foundational principles and vote our values.

In his speech at Arlington National Cemetery in 1986, President Ronald Reagan delivered an eloquent Memorial Day speech. He said:

“Today is the day we put aside to remember fallen heroes and to pray that no heroes will ever have to die for us again. It’s a day of thanks for the valor of others, a day to remember the splendor of America and those of her children who rest in this cemetery and others. It’s a day to be with the family and remember.”

Click here to read the speech.

Take time with your family to give thanks to God for the blessing of America and for our armed forces – those with us and who have passed on. Pray for our nation, our leaders, and for the protection of the values we hold dear.

2) Gov. Brewer: “I do not support the goals of Planned Parenthood” – In an in-depth interview this week with Capitol Media Services, Governor Brewer reasserted her support for the prolife movement in Arizona and her opposition to Planned Parenthood, Arizona’s largest abortion provider.

She said, “I do not support the goals of Planned Parenthood because I believe in life. They believe in choice. So let’s just cut right through the fat and tell it like it is. I don’t support them. It’s philosophically not agreeable with me.”

Of course, Planned Parenthood quickly sent out a fundraising email stating they weren’t “giving in to Governor Brewer’s bullying” and stated they had “fought assailants like Jan Brewer before.” The facts are that Governor Brewer has defended women’s health needs by making Arizona one of the safest states in the country for preborn children and mothers with crisis pregnancies. The reality is, the prolife bills passed by the legislature and signed into law in the last four years are saving lives.

3) The Latest Attack on CAP – This week, the Secular Coalition for Arizona, a statewide atheist organization, and No Longer Silent, a homosexual clergy organization, announced that they had filed complaints with the IRS challenging our nonprofit status. CBS Channel 5 aired the story Wednesday.

There really isn’t much to say about this meritless, politically motivated attack. Rest assured these attacks by those who oppose our public policy positions will not distract us from the important work at hand – registering voters, distributing our Voter Guide (coming in July), and turning out the vote on Election Day.

Here’s the statement I have issued in response to media inquiries:

“Every year, independent auditors examine our books at Center for Arizona Policy, Inc. (CAP), and every year these independent auditors have given us their highest rating – a clean auditor’s report.

Indeed, CAP goes even further to assure our supporters and all Arizonans of our integrity by voluntarily meeting the high standards of the Evangelical Council on Financial Accountability (ECFA). Our IRS Form 990 is not only supplied to the IRS, but also to ECFA as further assurance that CAP operates with utmost integrity. Additionally, CAP fully complies with ECFA’s rigorous Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™ that focus on board governance, financial transparency, integrity in fundraising, and proper use of charity resources.

The accusations against CAP are without legal merit or factual basis. This is a public relations stunt by those desiring to silence our representation of the foundational principles of good public policy: a high regard for human life, marriage and family, and religious liberty.”

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at cathi_herrod@azpolicy.org.

CAP Releases Family Issues Voting Record

Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) released the Family Issues Voting Record today, reporting on how Arizona’s 90 state legislators voted on the issues of life, marriage and family, and religious liberty.

Included in the record is how state legislators voted on:

  • The Mother’s Health & Safety Act, HB 2036, which bans abortions after 20 weeks.
  • HB 2800, which guarantees that federal tax dollars that pass through the state do not go to abortion providers.
  • SB 1047, which creates a new tax credit to give children on waiting lists the opportunity to attend the school of their parents’ choice.
  • HB 2625, which protects religious employers from being, forced to violate their religious beliefs and pay for abortion-inducing drugs and contraception.

Center for Arizona Policy supported the legislation contained in the Family Issues Voting Record. Since the organization was founded in 1995, 114 CAP-supported bills have been signed into law.

If we’ve learned anything from the last few elections, it’s that Arizona is a pro-life and pro-religious freedom state. Because Arizonans turn out to vote their values, we have a state legislature that has taken important steps to make our state a better place for families.

The Family Issues Voting Record contains how state legislators voted on 12 pieces of legislation. For a complete recap of all CAP-supported legislation, click here:

Arizona Senate Voting Record: http://bit.ly/J6EKSO

Arizona House of Representatives Voting Record: http://bit.ly/Jth789

Defunding Planned Parenthood

The Legislature once again demonstrated why Arizona has become one of the most pro-life states in the country. On Wednesday, the Senate passed HB 2800, sponsored by Rep. Justin Olson. This bill prohibits federal dollars that pass through the state for family planning from going to abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood. Click here to see how your Senator voted. The bill now awaits Gov. Brewer’s signature.To no one’s surprise, of course, Planned Parenthood continues to attack the bill in two ways:

  1. They claim they do not use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions. Yet one taxpayer dollar that goes to Planned Parenthood for anything frees up another dollar to fund their abortion operation. Any funding to Planned Parenthood supports abortions.
  2. Despite being Arizona’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood claims this bill will deny women access to other medical procedures including cancer screenings and women’s health services. Once again, this is not true. The bill does not reduce the funding by one penny – it simply prioritizes the funding to healthcare providers who can provide more comprehensive services. There are plenty of options for women to access care in Arizona.

National Day of Prayer

Since our nation’s beginning, every leader has recognized the important role prayer plays in safeguarding our future.The National Day of Prayer is this Thursday, May 3. This year’s theme verse is Psalm 33:12 “Blessed is the Nation Whose God is the Lord.”

Our friends at BridgeBuilders are hosting a prayer event at the state Capitol that day. Check out other prayer events across the state at the National Day of Prayer website.

Take time on Thursday to lift Arizona and America up in prayer. Attend an event. Pray with your family, especially your children. Pray for wisdom and protection for our leaders at all levels of government. Ask for the church to stand up this election season and that the foundational values of life, marriage and family, and religious liberty are protected and respected in our nation.

The National Movement

The Susan B. Anthony List has been working with state organizations across the country to defund Planned Parenthood. This year, Ohio, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Oklahoma are considering legislation similar to Arizona’s HB 2800. We’re grateful to have been able to work with SBA List to see HB 2800 pass in Arizona.In 2011, eight states successfully defunded Planned Parenthood of more than $61.7 million.

Rushing Toward Adjournment

After a slow week at the Capitol, news comes late this week that the Legislature and Governor may have reached an agreement on the state budget. That means adjournment could happen early next week. Three key CAP-supported bills still need final votes in both houses: SB 1365 to protect the rights of conscience for individuals in employment, HB 2774 to clarify the property tax exemption for churches, and HB 2622 to expand and refine Arizona’s empowerment scholarship account program. Vetoed by Gov. Brewer a few weeks ago, the “ESA” bill has been modified to meet Gov. Brewer’s concerns. Stay up to date with CAP’s bill tracker.

Finding a Solution

The state Senate gave final approval to HB 2625, which exempts religiously affiliated employers from being forced to violate their religious beliefs by covering abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives in their insurance plans.The bill passed by a 19-9 vote and now heads to Gov. Brewer’s desk. Click here to see how your Senator voted.

While there is still work to be done to protect the religious conscience rights of all employers, this bill is an important step in the right direction.

Gov. Brewer Needs to Hear from You!

Now that these two important bills are heading to the Governor, she needs to hear from you that you support HB 2800 and HB 2625!

Click here to send Gov. Brewer a message online.

Chuck Colson’s Legacy

As word came these last few days that Chuck Colson may be near death, I’ve been reflecting on the legacy of this amazing leader. Like many of you I’m sure, I remember reading Born Again about his conversion to Christianity. Colson has dedicated his life to challenging believers to apply biblical principles to their everyday lives. The many ministries he’s inspired and led, including his renowned Prison Fellowship Ministry, The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and the Manhattan Declaration have been at the forefront of the national pro-life, pro-family movement.

In April 1985, Colson wrote these words that are even more appropriate to today’s challenges:

“Certainly evil is to be expected in a fallen world. What is not expected is for a holy people to accept it. If Christ is Lord of all, Christians must recapture their sense of moral outrage.”

I can think of no better way to honor Mr. Colson and his life’s work than by reading, signing, and sharing the Manhattan Declaration. The goal of the Manhattan Declaration is to build a movement of Catholic, Evangelical, and Eastern Orthodox Christians who will stand together alongside other men and women of goodwill to advance the sanctity of life, rebuild and revitalize the marriage culture, and protect religious liberty. And, if you haven’t, pick up a copy of Born Again or any of Colson’s many other books and be challenged and inspired by this man’s legacy.

Three In One!

Tuesday was a great day for family advocates at the Legislature – three CAP-supported bills were signed into law on the same day!

  • SB 1359 – Prohibits so-called “wrongful life” lawsuits against medical professionals for misdiagnosing or not diagnosing a birth defect of a preborn child, which, if known, would have led to the child being aborted. Sen. Nancy Barto sponsored this bill.
  • HB 2627 – Prohibits abortion providers from qualifying for Arizona’s Working Poor Tax Credit, including Planned Parenthood. Rep. Debbie Lesko sponsored this bill.
  • HB 2265 – Ensures that arts funding in Arizona is not used to deface religious objects or promote obscenity. Representative J.D. Mesnard sponsored this bill.

Citizenlink covered these victories – read their story here.

Religious Freedom Bill Still Alive

Because of the support of Arizonans across the state, HB 2625 is one vote away from heading to the Governor’s desk. This is the bill that protects religiously-affiliated employers from being forced to violate their religious convictions by covering abortion-inducing drugs or contraception in their insurance plans. Despite the distortions and attacks, the truth about this bill has been made known. Find out how your representative voted here.

You can track the progress of this and the remaining CAP-supported bills in action with our online Bill Tracker or on our Facebook page.

Intern with CAP this Summer

We are accepting applications to intern with us this summer in the policy and communications departments. In such a critical election year, interns will get frontline experience working to promote foundational values in public policy. Click here for information on how to apply.

Finishing Strong

Finishing Strong

Next week may be the last week of this legislative session. Now is when bills can very easily die if supporters aren’t persistent and vigilant to see them through to the finish line.

Through the hard work of the CAP team, our friends at the Legislature, and YOUR support, we experienced some very significant success this week.

As we reported yesterday, Governor Jan Brewer signed one of the most significant pro-life bills in Arizona’s history.

Please take a moment today to send Gov. Brewer an email, send her a message on her Facebook page, or send her a tweet @GovBrewer. She is definitely hearing from the pro-abortion side – let’s make sure she knows our gratitude for her stand in defense of preborn children and their mothers.

Of course, Gov. Brewer would not have had the opportunity to sign the bill if it hadn’t been for the many legislators that voted for and spoke out in support of the bill. On Tuesday, the House gave HB 2036 final approval before sending it on to the Governor. Led by bill sponsor Rep. Kimberly Yee, many gave very powerful speeches in support of the bill. Read more about this floor session on the Foundations blog. Watch the entire floor debate here.

Yesterday, Gov. Brewer also signed into law SB 1009. Led by our allies at Arizona Catholic Conference, SB 1009 requires that adoption and childbirth be presented as preferred options over abortion in any public school presentations.

Pushing On

After HB 2625, which protects religious employers from being forced by governmental mandate to violate their religious beliefs by providing insurance coverage for contraception and abortion-inducing drugs, was voted down last week 13-17, CAP, the Arizona Catholic Conference, and Rep. Debbie Lesko worked with Senators on an agreement to bring the bill back yesterday. The bill now will be amended to protect religiously affiliated employers.

If you were to listen to opponents, you’d be led to believe HB 2625 was some extreme bill that would make Arizona an outlier among states. The reality is, this bill puts Arizona in line with a majority of states regarding insurance mandates. Read our news release from yesterday on the bill to find out its true impact, and take time to read this editorial from Senator Nancy Barto that clears up many of the misconceptions about the bill.

A Word About Our Opponents

During floor debates this week, legislators opposed to CAP-supported bills stood up to openly attack CAP and imply that legislators are blindly following our lead. Nothing could be further from the truth. We heard several recycled feminist rants about the abortion issue. You can listen to these rants here. First, I ask you to remember to pray for those who stand in opposition – that they would see the merits of these issues. Second, I ask you to commit now to engaging this election season. I have no doubt that the common sense bills on CAP’s legislative agenda reflect the core values of a strong majority of Arizonans. This vocal, fired-up minority, however, stands ready to “take back the Legislature” and go to battle this election season. Perseverance through prayer and action is necessary to maintain the breakthroughs for foundational principles that we’ve been able to accomplish these last few years.

Still Time to Join Del Tackett and Me in Tucson

There’s only a week left until Engage: Tucson with Dr. Del Tackett. Del will share how you can have an impact on our community by putting your biblical worldview into action. Click here for ticket details – hope to see you there!

Intern with CAP this Summer

We are accepting applications to intern with us this summer in the policy and communications departments. In such a critical election year, interns will get frontline experience working to promote foundational values in public policy. Click here for information on how to apply.

Governor Jan Brewer Signs Pro-Life Legislation to Protect Arizona’s Unborn

PHOENIX – Governor Jan Brewer today signed into law HB 2036 – the Mother’s Health and Safety Act – which strengthens current state laws to safeguard maternal health and protect Arizona’s unborn. Among its provisions, the bill prohibits an abortion if the gestational age of the unborn child is determined to be at least 20 weeks, except in cases when the life or health of the mother is at risk.

“This legislation is consistent with my strong track record of supporting common sense measures to protect the health of women and safeguard our most vulnerable population – the unborn,” said Governor Brewer. “Knowing that abortions become riskier the later they are performed in pregnancy, it only makes sense to prohibit these procedures past twenty weeks.”

Arizona now joins seven states with similar regulations prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Among its provisions, HB 2036:

  • ·Bars abortions after 20 weeks due to safety risks to the mother and the likelihood that the unborn child will endure pain;
  • Strengthens existing parental consent and informed consent regulations, including requiring that women seeking an abortion receive an ultrasound at least 24 hours in advance, and establishing the development of a website with facts about fetal development and abortion risks.
  • Requires that any physician on-site for a surgical abortion have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic, in case of abortion-caused complications.

“I want to thank Governor Brewer for signing the Women’s Health and Safety Act,” said state Rep. Kimberly Yee, R-LD10. “This important bill strengthens Arizona’s laws protecting the health and safety of women, and recognizes the precious life of the preborn baby.”

This is the latest legislation signed into law by Governor Brewer to safeguard the health and safety of women and protect the unborn. Among these measures, the Governor has barred non-physicians from performing abortions, and required written, notarized parental consent for any minor seeking an abortion.

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BREAKING NEWS: Gov. Brewer Signs Bill Prohibiting Abortion After 20 Weeks

Gov. Brewer Signs Bill Prohibiting Abortion After 20 Weeks


Arizona Women Lead the Pro-Life March to Protect Mother’s Health and Safety

Governor Jan Brewer has signed HB 2036, which prohibits abortion after 20 weeks. The bill, sponsored by Representative Kimberly Yee and supported by Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), is a momentous victory for pro-life advocates in the state.

HB 2036, called “The Mother’s Health and Safety Act”:

  • Prohibits abortion after 20 weeks because of the safety risks to the mother and the pain endured by the preborn child.
  • Ensures women have an ultrasound at least 24 hours prior to an abortion.
  • Establishes an informed consent website which details the facts about fetal development, risks of abortion, and services available.
  • Requires doctors performing surgical abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of the abortion facility.

“Today, I applaud and thank Gov. Brewer, Representative Kimberly Yee, Senator Nancy Barto and the many strong, pro-life men and women who led the effort to enact this much-needed law,” said Cathi Herrod, President of Center for Arizona Policy. “HB 2036 provides for the health needs of women considering an abortion, ensuring that women have all the information they need when making this life-changing decision. Abortion not only ends the life of a preborn child, but it also seriously endangers the health and safety of women.”

While 7 states have similar laws that prohibit abortion after 20 weeks of a pregnancy, Arizona is the first in the nation to do so because abortion at this late stage presents a much greater risk to maternal health.

In signing this bill, Gov. Brewer has continued her record as the “pro-life Governor.” Since taking office, Gov. Brewer has signed a number of bills that protect women and the preborn, including legislation that requires women have an in-person consultation with a doctor 24 hours before the abortion, prohibits non-doctors from performing abortions, and requires written, notarized parental consent before a minor can have an abortion.

Please take time to email Gov. Jan Brewer to thank her for being our pro-life Governor.

Let’s Clear a Few Things Up

What a week. I don’t know if I’ve ever witnessed such baseless and false attacks on CAP-supported bills as I saw this week. While I understand that it may be more entertaining for some to blatantly lie about legislation, the people deserve to know the truth.

So I’m going to clear a few things up about CAP-supported bills and other issues that have been misconstrued in the press and liberal blogs this week.

HB 2625 – This simple bill protects the religious freedom of faith-based groups and other employers. No employer should be forced by the government to pay for contraception and abortifacients in their insurance plans when doing so would violate their First Amendment protected religious beliefs. The media has falsely picked up the opponents’ outrageous claims that the bill would force women to tell employers why they are taking birth control pills. Read the bill. That claim is not in the bill.

Center for Arizona Policy does not take a position on family planning or birth control. We do, however take a very strong position that faith-based institutions and employers who hold a religious belief regarding contraception should not be compelled to violate those beliefs and pay for the medication.

The bill’s sponsor, Representative Debbie Lesko has done an incredible job in numerous media interviews explaining this point, like this interview with Greta Van Sustren. Take a moment to thank Rep. Lesko by emailing her.

SB 1359
– Sponsored by Sen. Nancy Barto, this legislation is based on common sense and decency. It prohibits “wrongful life” and “wrongful birth” lawsuits. These lawsuits arise when a child is born with a disability, and the parents sue the doctor claiming that had they known their child had a disability, they would have had an abortion.

These lawsuits endorse the viewpoint that the life of a disabled child is worth less than the life of a child without a disability. Imagine what the children of the parents who file these lawsuits must feel when they get older and find out that their parents sued because they wish they would have had an abortion.

The attacks on this bill have truly been far-fetched. Some blogs claimed that this bill would allow doctors to knowingly withhold information from parents. Untrue. This bill does nothing to protect doctors that cause harm to preborn children, withhold information, or are grossly negligent.

Bullying, Part Two. Perhaps you’ve seen the attacks on me and CAP this week regarding the anti-bullying legislation I wrote about last week. I’ve been called a “legislative terrorist” and I’m sure a few other names by the time you read this.

While most of the attacks do not warrant a response, I do want to address one false statement made by State Senator David Schapira. He has claimed multiple times that I said SB 1462 is a “back door gay bill, no pun intended.” I would never say something so crass. Sen. Schapira – disagree with me if you want. But stop telling lies about what I supposedly said.

Click here to see a Channel 12 news clip attacking us for our position then click here to read the statement I issued to the press in response.

Pornographers coming to Arizona? – Several of you have written me recently about the California pornography industry threatening to come to Arizona because of new regulations in Los Angeles.

What wasn’t mentioned is the huge roadblock in their way: filming pornography in Arizona violates our prostitution laws.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery sent a clear message to pornographers this week when he released a statement explaining how virtually all of those involved in pornography could be subject to felony charges:

Under Arizona law, anyone paid to appear in a pornographic movie may be guilty of the crime of prostitution, which carries mandatory jail time as well as the possibility of other penalties. Furthermore, anyone involved in other aspects of producing pornographic movies, including soliciting individuals to appear, collecting a fee from the monies received by individuals solicited to appear by virtue of an agent relationship, transporting individuals from California to Arizona for the purpose of appearing in a pornographic movie, and/or establishing a venue for the filming and/or production of pornographic movies may be guilty of committing one or several felonies in the state of Arizona. Accordingly, Arizona law precludes the establishment of a “pornography industry” to any degree such as that present in California.

You can read his full statement here. After you read it, take a moment to thank Mr. Montgomery for standing up to the pornography industry.

Still Time to Join Me and Gov. Mike Huckabee
There is still time to get your tickets for the CAP Family Dinner with Gov. Mike Huckabee in Tucson on March 21 and Scottsdale on March 22. Visit our website to order your tickets or call our office at 602.424.2525. Hope you can make it!

An Important Voice for These Times

This election year, one of the most interesting, engaging, thoughtful, and wise political voices is that of Gov. Mike Huckabee. Perhaps you catch his weekend show on Fox News or listen to his radio program.Well, plan now to join us for our CAP Family Dinner with Gov. Huckabee as the keynote speaker. Because of our growing statewide support, we’ve decided to take this show on the road and present the dinner in two locations: Tucson and Scottsdale. We need your help —- reserve your tables or tickets today and help us spread the word for this don’t miss event of the spring!

Join us for CAP Family Dinner in Tucson on March 21 and Scottsdale on March 22.

CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS AND SPONSORSHIP INFORMATION

Pro-Life Mother’s Health & Safety Act Advances CAP-supported HB 2036 passed out of committee this week. Once again, Planned Parenthood tried to distort and misrepresent the dangers of abortion and the facts of this bill. Yet, thanks to the bill’s sponsor Rep. Kimberly Yee, and the members of the Senate Judiciary committee, Planned Parenthood was not able to derail this important legislation.

The two-hour committee hearing is well-worth watching. One of the most powerful moments was when one pro-abortion supporter tried to claim that giving birth is more dangerous – and causes more deaths – than abortion. Senator Steve Yarbrough reminded the woman that this is impossible because there is always one death from abortion – the loss of the preborn child.

The most concerning aspect of the committee hearing however is Planned Parenthood’s complete denial of any risks of abortion. You and I know abortion not only takes the life of the preborn child but also poses significant risks to the mother. All of us know women who were harmed by an abortion. Take time today to read our Issue Brief on AZPolicyPages.com about how abortion harms women.

Big Week for Religious Freedom 
Several CAP-supported bills to protect our religious liberty continued to pass through the legislature this week.
  • SB 1365 passed the Senate; awaits House hearing March 6 – Protects professionals from losing their state licenses for practicing their faith and strengthens protection for religious organizations that contract with the state.
  • HB 2625 passed the House; awaits Senate hearing – Expands the definition of “religious employer” for the state’s prescription contraceptive coverage exemption and protects employers and employees from being forced to pay for abortifacient contraceptives against their religious beliefs.
  • HB 2770 passed the House; awaits Senate hearing – Protects college and university professors from being denied tenure because of their religious convictions or political beliefs.
  • HB 2774 passed the House; awaits Senate hearing – Affirms the religious liberty of churches by clarifying the statutes that exempt churches from property taxes.

An Important Message for Young Women  
In partnership with Arizona State University Students for Life, CAP hosted a screening of the documentary eggsploitation this week. Following the film, the students and CAP staff discussed the ads they’ve seen on campus soliciting young women for their eggs, and their concerns about the ethical issues involving egg donation.
ABC 15 came to the screening and aired this segment on the topic.

Rep. Justin Pierce Puts the Life Issue in Perspective

The Mother’s Health and Safety Act, HB 2838, was heard in the House Health and Human Services Committee last week.

One of the most powerful moments came when Representative Justin Pierce shared the story of his brother’s family, and how despite pressure from doctors, they chose life and now have a beautiful 3 year old son.

This is a must-see video for anyone in the life debate…

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Babies and Their Mothers Need Your Help

I’ve never witnessed a hearing like the House Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday.

The 9-member committee was considering the CAP-supported Mother’s Health and Safety Act, HB 2838. This legislation would ban abortions after 20 weeks of a pregnancy. Without a doubt this bill would save the lives of preborn children because there were 210 abortions at 20 weeks or later in 2011 in Arizona.

Planned Parenthood pulled out all the stops to block this bill from passing. After attacking me in an email to supporters, they brought a dozen or more pro-abortion doctors and activists to this hearing to distort the facts of the bill, and tell members to vote against it.

Unfortunately, our medical expert who was scheduled to testify was unable to attend the hearing because he was doing what great pro-life OB/GYN doctors do – deliver babies!

Because our doctor was not able to testify, and because of the outrageous claims made by Planned Parenthood’s “experts,” the committee’s chairman decided to hold the bill until next week. Yet, as of today, he has not put the bill on the agenda.

While I am confident the bill will get a hearing and the committee will ultimately pass the legislation, the pro-life community has to make their voice heard now.

Going to vote on Election Day is not enough to ensure that pro-life bills pass. Your legislators need to hear from you and be supported to stand for life.

You better believe that Planned Parenthood’s backers are making their opinions known. It is all of our responsibility to counter their attacks with truth and encouragement.

Please, click here to respond to our Action Alert to support HB 2838.

Never Giving Up on Life
The most moving part of our hearing on Wednesday came from Rep. Justin Pierce. Following Planned Parenthood testimony about the importance for parents to be able to abort their children who have “little chance of surviving after birth,” Representative Justin Pierce shared a personal story about his nephew, who was given little to no chance of surviving outside of the womb. Click here to see the rest of the story. This is a must-see video for everyone involved in the abortion debate.

Women Speak Out: Defund Planned Parenthood
The House Health Committee did pass HB 2800 to end backdoor funding of abortion. On Thursday, I joined our friends from Susan B. Anthony List at a press conference outside the Glendale Planned Parenthood. Visit our Facebook page to view some of the photos from the event.

School Choice Victory!
The Arizona House gave final passage to SB 1047 to expand Arizona’s scholarship tax credit program so children on waiting lists have a chance to attend the private schools chosen by their parents. This critical CAP-supported and negotiated bill should reach Gov. Brewer’s desk next week. There was so much more that happened at the Legislature this week. We’re posting regular updates to our Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as keeping our Bill Tracker up-to-date so you can follow all the action.

Komen Foundation Waffling

The drama surrounding the Komen Foundation’s announcement they would cut off funding to Planned Parenthood continues to develop, even as I write this.

On Tuesday, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which works to cure breast cancer, announced a change in their policies that would exclude any organization under congressional investigation from receiving funding. This decision meant that Planned Parenthood, which is currently under investigation by the House Oversight and Investigation Committee, would no longer receive hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from Komen.

While pro-life advocates praised Komen, and showed their support by increasing donations to the organization by 100% over two days, Planned Parenthood lashed out against them. The reaction from the pro-abortion crowd has been outrageous. It can only be defined as bullying at its worst. Komen’s website was hacked and Planned Parenthood led the attacks.

Then this morning Komen released this statement, creating confusion regarding the exact position Komen is taking.

While some on the pro-abortion side have hailed this as a victory claiming they have forced Komen to reverse their position, others are saying not-so-fast. Komen’s statement is not necessarily changing any of their original positions. Supposedly, if Planned Parenthood is found guilty of any of the charges in the Congressional investigation, they will not fund the abortion giant.

My message to Komen is “fish or cut bait.” Komen has a clear right course of action – deny Planned Parenthood funding because they are not in the business of saving lives, but destroying them.

Planned Parenthood has activated their base and is in full attack mode. We need to send a positive message to the Komen Foundation and pray they have courage and boldness during this time.

Not Standing Idly By
The Obama administration’s announcement that all employers must cover birth control in company health insurance plans, regardless of any religious beliefs underscores the very real threat in our nation today to the First Amendment’s free exercise of religion guarantee. It’s simply outrageous and very wrong to put a woman’s so-called right or even need for an employer to pay for and provide birth control pills above a religious group’s or individual’s religious beliefs. Thankfully, religious leaders and elected officials are speaking out.

Phoenix Diocese Bishop Thomas Olmstead sent a letter to be read at all Masses in the Diocese of Phoenix saying the diocese would not “comply with this unjust law” and that “people of faith cannot be made second class citizens.”

In D.C., Florida Senator Marco Rubio introduced the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to stop the Obama administration from forcing a number of organizations to make the false choice to either compromise their religious beliefs or face persecution from the government.

Wait No More Just a Week Away
Over 350 children in Arizona today need a forever home. Perhaps you or a friend is interested in adopting a child in need. I urge you today to plan to join CAP on February 11 at Scottsdale Bible Church for the Wait No More Conference. This conference is a great first step for anyone thinking about blessing a child with a permanent home. Click here for more details!

All Eyes Turning to Arizona

In the three states with primary elections so far, three different candidates for the Republican nomination have been declared winners. Next up is Florida. Many already are looking toward the next major state primary – Arizona.

Arizona Republic columnist, Bob Robb, said the Arizona Primary Election “is likely to be the most consequential shootout leading up to Super Tuesday.”

But Arizona isn’t only a key state for the Republicans. As evidenced by the President’s visit to Chandler this week, Arizona is seen by some as a toss-up state in November.

Every vote will count on February 28 and November 6!

Each one of us needs to make sure our families and friends at church registered to vote. The deadline to register to vote in the Primary Election is Monday, January 30. If you are not registered, or you know someone who is not registered, check out ServiceArizona.com today. It only takes five minutes to register online!

Opening Doors & Getting off the Waiting List
This week’s celebration of National School Choice week was especially timely as two school choice victories have occurred in the last week.

Yesterday, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge upheld the constitutionality of the CAP-supported Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) program. ESAs provide parents of children with special needs the opportunity to redirect state funds for the education and educational services that best meet their children’s needs. Approximately 75 families have received empowerment scholarship this year. On Monday, a House committee will consider expanding this vital program.

Last week, the Arizona Senate voted to expand the Scholarship Tax Credit program. This new credit is intended to address the critical need to provide scholarships for children on waiting lists. The measure awaits House consideration. Keep up-to-date on legislation at our bill tracker.

Opposition Intensifies
Unfortunately, opponents of school choice continue to distort and attack the programs.

Check out CAP Legal Counsel Deborah Sheasby’s rebuttal to the critics of school choice on the Foundations Blog.

Three Reasons for Banning Abortion at 20 Weeks
On Wednesday, CAP brought Americans United for Life Senior Counsel, Clarke Forsythe, to the Senate Health Committee to testify in support of a ban on abortions after 20 weeks. Today, all but three or four out of the 195 nations in the world prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. And you guessed it – you can count the United States as one of the few countries that allow abortion at such a late stage.

  1. Soon Arizona legislators will be considering banning abortions at such a late stage of a pregnancy for three reasons: Abortions at any time present a serious risk to the health and safety of the mother, but especially at 20 weeks and beyond.
  2. It has become more evident that preborn children can begin to feel pain at this point even in the womb.
  3. A ban on abortions at 20 weeks would help prevent post-delivery abortions – this is the practice of the doctor delivering the child and then performing the abortion. You may recall hearing about Dr. Kermit Gosnell performing these abortions. He was recently arrested and charged with murder.

So Much Coming Up
The CAP Calendar is full of events coming up! The next big event is this Sunday at Catalina Foothills Church in Tucson. I’ll be speaking with Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin and Kenyn Cureton of Family Research Council at the Recapturing Our American Heritage event.

Find more details about this and other upcoming events here.

The Decision that Changed Everything

This Sunday marks the 39th anniversary of the most tragic U.S. Supreme Court decision in our nation’s history, Roe v. Wade.

Since 1973, more than 50 million abortions have been performed in America – roughly one-sixth of our population has been lost.

While there is much work to be done until we see the day when every life is cherished and protected from its very beginning to its natural end, the pro-life movement is stronger than ever.

The Pro-Life Shift
At the time of Roe v. Wade, a majority of Americans were asleep and not aware of the implications of legalized abortion for any reason, at any stage of pregnancy, at any age of the mother. Thankfully, our nation has experienced, and continues to experience, a dramatic shift in Americans’ attitudes about abortion. Americans have woken up to the fact that abortion stops a beating heart, breaks a woman’s heart, harms a woman physically and emotionally, and does not provide solutions to any problems.

Ultrasound technology has proven the humanity of the preborn child. Everyone knows a woman who was harmed by abortion and regrets her so-called “choice.” The dangerous practices of abortion providers like Planned Parenthood and Gosnell in Pennsylvania have been exposed in shocking detail.

In July 2011, Gallup found the following:

  • 26 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal under any circumstances.
  • 13 percent believe abortion should be legal under most circumstances.
  • 38 percent believe abortion should be legal in only few circumstances.
  • 20 percent believe abortion should be illegal in all circumstances.

That means almost 60 percent of Americans believe abortions should be illegal in either all or most circumstances. Even though Planned Parenthood still receives more than 300 million tax dollars annually, there has been a shift in public perception about the abortion giant, in part thanks to Americans United for Life and their recent report The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood.

Arizona: One of the Most Improved Pro-Life States
In Arizona, thanks to Arizonans voting their pro-life values to elect a pro-life legislature and Governor, we have made significant progress to protect preborn children and women – so much so that Americans United for Life named our state one of the “most-improved” states in the country for pro-life legislation.

In the last year alone, CAP-supported laws have taken effect that:

  • require an ultrasound be given to a woman at least an hour before an abortion,
  • ensure parental consent is notarized before a minor can have an abortion,
  • ensure a women has the right to meet with a doctor at least 24 hours before an abortion, and
  • prohibit non-doctors from performing abortion.

You can read more about Arizona’s abortion laws on AZPolicyPages.com

The Ongoing Fight
This session, CAP will once again be supporting legislation to promote the health and safety of women considering an abortion, and to protect them against the predatory practices of the abortion industry. Stay tuned over the next two weeks as key pro-life legislation is introduced.

We will also continue our work to defend CAP-supported legislation in court, like the law that would disqualify donations to any organization that provides, promotes, pays for, or provides referrals for abortion from being eligible for the working poor tax credit. This law is currently blocked from taking effect because of a lawsuit the ACLU brought on behalf of the Arizona Domestic Violence Coalition.

Join the Cause
Take time to consider these four ways you can make a difference for life in Arizona:

  • Join me this Sunday at the Arizona March for Life, sponsored by Arizona Right to Life. This year’s theme is “Respect, Love, Protect.” Click here for more details.
  • Order a Choose Life license plate. For only $25, you can make a statement daily to our community about the importance of promoting and protecting human life, while also providing funding that will help women find positive, life-affirming alternatives to abortion. Visit ServiceArizona.com to order your plate today!
  • Support your local Pregnancy Resource Center. Through their love and service, countless women have been given the hope and support needed to choose life when faced with a crisis pregnancy. Many of these organizations are led by volunteer staffs, so support from the community is vital.
  • Make sure you and your circles of influence are registered to vote then plan to help keep the Arizona legislature pro-life in this year’s elections. Check out azvoterguide.com for elections resources.