Sine Die – Finally!

The Arizona Legislature adjourned last night, ending one of the most significant and successful sessions for Arizona families. Our CAP Team is grateful for the leadership shown by Governor Brewer and our pro-life, pro-family legislators. Next week, we will release the Family Issues Voting Record, which recaps how each legislator voted on CAP-supported bills, and the final tally of CAP-supported bills that were signed into law.

On the Governor’s Desk

Before adjournment, the legislature sent four CAP-supported bills to Governor Brewer. Legislation to defund Planned Parenthood (HB 2800), protect employers from being forced to violate their religious beliefs (HB 2625), protect professionals licensed by the state from losing their certifications for the free exercise of their faith (SB 1365), and expand the Empowerment Scholarship Account Program (HB 2622) are all awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and education establishment have continued their campaign to encourage Gov. Brewer to veto these bills. If you haven’t yet, please take a minute today to send her a quick note in support of these four bills! And, take a few minutes to pray!

A Team Effort! A Time of Thanksgiving!

I live by the Proverb that we are to be prepared for the day of battle but victory belongs to the Lord.  The victories this legislative session indeed are by God’s Hand.   Thankfully, however, He has blessed our efforts with a team that includes allied organizations committed to foundational values including Arizona Catholic Conference, Alliance Defense Fund, Bioethics Defense Foundation, Americans United for Life, Susan B. Anthony List, and our school choice allies. I am incredibly grateful for everything they do to join us to stand for foundational values.

If space permitted, I would also thank each and every legislator who stood with us this session.  Alas, I will ask each one of you to do so when you receive the voting records next week for your two state representatives and state senator. For now, I do want to thank Senate President Steve Pierce and House Speaker Andy Tobin for their leadership in making sure CAP-supported bills made it through the legislative process.  Take time to send those two leaders a quick thank-you email for their support – click on their names above to send them an email.

Finally, THANK YOU! It’s because you turned out to vote your values in the 2010 elections that we were blessed with the pro-life, pro-family majority in the state House and Senate.

National Day of Prayer
Our nation celebrated the National Day of Prayer yesterday. In conjunction with the National Day of Prayer, Governor Brewer once again declared yesterday the Arizona Day of Prayer, despite the ongoing legal attack against her from the “Freedom From Religion Foundation.”
Thank you, Gov. Brewer, for refusing to be pushed around by this out-of-state organization that is determined to rewrite our country’s history and First Amendment.

Praying Strategically

In recognition of the National Day of Prayer, CAP’s new Church Relations Director, Pastor Terry Anderson is writing a 3 part blog series on the Foundations blog about “praying strategically.” Terry shared this message with our staff last week and greatly blessed the CAP team. Click here to read it.

ICYMI: War on Women? The Undeniable Roots of Pro-Life Feminism

Our friends at the Susan B. Anthony List wrote an editorial in response to two pieces in the Arizona Republic.

On the Foundations blog, we share their editorial, but also point out that today’s pro-life movement is stronger – and more diverse – than ever before. This legislative session is an awesome example of women and men coming together to defend life, vulnerable women, and preborn children.

BREAKING NEWS: Planned Parenthood Lawsuit Against Abortion Consent Act Is Over

A court order entered today by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Mark Brain officially ends the legal attack on the Abortion Consent Act by Arizona’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.

In August, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that the CAP-drafted and supported Abortion Consent Act was constitutional in a 3-0 decision. Today’s court order dismisses all remaining claims in the case and allows the Abortion Consent Act to take effect immediately.

The Abortion Consent Act is the single most significant piece of pro-life legislation in Arizona. This is a tremendous victory for the entire state, especially women and preborn children.

The provisions in the Abortion Consent Act include:

  • The state will require a notarized parental signature before an abortion can be performed on a minor child.
  • Women will be provided with full and accurate information by a doctor in person at least 24 hours before an abortion.
  • Medical professionals cannot be forced to perform abortions if it contradicts their sincerely held religious or moral beliefs.
  • Non-doctors will not be permitted by law to perform surgical abortions.

While this is a monumental step forward for the Arizona, there is still much work to be done to see the sanctity of human life protected from its very beginning to its natural end.

Center for Arizona Policy is grateful to all of those who made this victory possible, including Governor Jan Brewer, the Arizona Legislature, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, Alliance Defense Fund, Bioethics Defense Fund, Life Legal Defense Foundation, and the many Arizonans who turn out every election cycle to vote their values and elect officials that stand for life.

For more information on the Abortion Consent Act visit CAP’s information page: http://bit.ly/qDCDpv

To read the decision from the Court of Appeals click here: http://bit.ly/r2m5QU

Victory!

Victory!
Yesterday is a day I will never forget. The Abortion Consent Act, one of the most important pieces of pro-life legislation ever passed in our state’s 99 year history, was upheld as constitutional by a three judge panel on the Arizona Court of Appeals. The court’s opinion vacated Judge Daughton’s prior decision to enjoin four key provisions of the Abortion Consent Act.

The brilliant opinion demonstrated that the judges saw through the nonsensical Planned Parenthood allegations. The Court specifically ruled that our state constitution does not create a right to an abortion greater than the federal constitutional right to an abortion – a key and correct interpretation of our state constitution.

This victory embodies everything Center for Arizona Policy stands for in our battle to promote and defend life, marriage and family, and religious liberty:

Life
Women will now be provided with full and accurate information by a doctor in person at least 24 hours in advance, protecting their health and safety, and potentially saving the lives of the preborn. Planned Parenthood’s practice of using non-doctors to perform surgical abortions will no longer be permitted by law. Women deserve better medical care. Now they will get it.

Marriage and Family
Parents’ fundamental right to direct the upbringing of their children are protected because the state will require a notarized parental signature before an abortion can be performed on a minor child. The real life tragedy of a 16-year old girl who received an abortion on the basis of her boyfriend’s email forgery will not happen again in Arizona.

Religious Liberty – Rights of Conscience
Those individuals working in any facility providing any type of abortion and any of those facilities cannot be forced to perform or facilitate an abortion if it contradicts their religious or moral beliefs.

A Powerful Message Sent
Judge Peter Swann wrote the opinion which included some very impactful statements. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the 44 page decision:

On the notarization requirement:
“Because we find no legal merit to Planned Parenthood’s legal challenge, we vacate the injunction against the enforcement of the notarization requirement.”

On the 24-hour waiting period:
“The state could easily conclude that because ‘physicians are better qualified … to impart this information [on abortion] …’ such an important choice should be made in consultation with a physician.”

On the rights of conscience of medical professionals:
“… whatever right a woman may have to ‘chart her own medical course,’ it cannot compel a health-care provider to prefer her chosen care.”

What’s Next?
While yesterday’s victory was monumental, this battle is not over. Planned Parenthood undoubtedly will attempt an array of legal maneuvers to stop the law from going into effect. Keep praying for final victory!

Thank You!
Elections matter. Yesterday’s victory would not have happened without you – the values voters – supporting candidates who value life and support common-sense abortion regulations. It would not have happened without you standing with us in prayer, citizen activism, and financial support. For at least the last 15 years, many of the provisions upheld yesterday had been voted down or vetoed by previous legislators and Governor.

I especially thank Governor Jan Brewer, who signed the Abortion Consent Act in 2009. Senators Nancy Barto and Linda Gray sponsored the original legislation. The litigation team was led by Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne’s office, and former Arizona Speaker Kirk Adams and current Speaker Andy Tobin’s office as well as our friends at Alliance Defense Fund, Bioethics Defense Fund, and Life Legal. As always, our allied work with Arizona Catholic Conference was critical in seeing this historic piece of legislation passed into law.

CAP Legal Counsel Deborah Sheasby drafted the Abortion Consent Act and has poured countless hours into this important law. She is truly a blessing to have on the CAP team.

Ultimately, glory be to God for the victory. As my favorite Proverb says: The horse is prepared for the day of battle but victory belongs to the Lord.

VICTORY FOR LIFE ADVOCATES: ARIZONA COURT OF APPEALS UPHOLDS ABORTION CONSENT ACT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2011
Contact: Aaron Baer, 602.424.2525, ext. 242, or 602.456.1792

Victory for Life Advocates:
Arizona Court of Appeals Upholds Abortion Consent Act

Key provisions protecting health and safety of women upheld

PHOENIX – The Arizona Court of Appeals today upheld the Abortion Consent Act. This law, signed by Governor Jan Brewer in 2009, was enjoined by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daughton following a Planned Parenthood lawsuit.

Today’s 3-0 opinion vacates the injunction in its entirety.

Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) drafted the Abortion Consent Act and is a part of the legal team defending the constitutionality of the law. The team is led by the Arizona Attorney General, Arizona House Speaker, and Alliance Defense Fund and also includes Bioethics Defense Fund and Life Legal Defense Foundation.

Key provisions that will be enacted include:

  • The state will require a notarized parental signature before an abortion can be performed on a minor child.
  • Women will be provided with full and accurate information by a doctor in person at least 24 hours before an abortion.
  • Medical professionals cannot be forced to perform abortions if it contradicts their sincerely held religious or moral beliefs.
  • Non-doctors will not be permitted by law to perform surgical abortions.

“The Court acknowledged the Legislature’s right to pass legislation to protect the health and safety of women considering abortion,” said Deborah Sheasby, Center for Arizona Policy’s Legal Counsel. “This is a major victory for Arizona women.”

“If Planned Parenthood truly cared about what’s best for women, they wouldn’t be repeatedly going to court around the nation to stop laws that allow women to make fully informed choices,” said ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden, who argued before the Court of Appeals on June 14. “The court ruled rightly in this case in rejecting the arguments of the nation’s largest purveyor of abortion.  The protection of women is not unconstitutional.”

For more information on the Abortion Consent Act visit CAP’s information page: http://bit.ly/qDCDpv

To read the decision from the Court of Appeals click here: http://bit.ly/r2m5QU

For more information about Center for Arizona Policy, visit azpolicy.org or contact Aaron Baer, 602.424.2525.

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

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BREAKING NEWS: Ninth Circuit Rules in Favor of Church in Yuma!

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of religious liberty for an Arizona church today. In 2007, the city of Yuma had unlawfully denied the church a permit to use its building for worship. Attorneys for Center for Arizona Policy and the Alliance Defense Fund worked together to defend the church’s rights in court.

“Churches should not be treated unfavorably just because they are religious, and that is what the city of Yuma had done here,” said CAP Legal Counsel Deborah Sheasby. “Because of this ruling, government officials will not be able to discriminate against churches and single them out for negative treatment in how they use their property. We are excited about this victory for churches and religious freedom.”

In this case, the church purchased a building in downtown Yuma in 2007, but the city denied its permit saying that a church did not “fit in” with the city’s plans for the area. The church filed a lawsuit based on the Constitution and the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), both of which prohibit the government from discriminating against religious organizations. A lower court ruled against the church, but today the Ninth Circuit reversed that decision.

The Ninth Circuit’s ruling explains that cities may not treat churches less favorably than non-religious groups. The city’s zoning ordinance “expressly treats religious organizations on a less than equal basis,” the court wrote. “The Yuma City Code’s exclusion of religious organizations is not reasonably well adapted to the zoning criteria it is purported to serve. And it therefore violates the equal terms provision of RLUIPA.”

In 2010, Center for Arizona Policy worked to pass a bill that clarifies Arizona law to better protect churches from the type of discrimination faced by the church in Yuma. That bill was signed and went into effect in July 2010.

Sheasby commended today’s court ruling, saying, “Today’s legal victory reinforces that Arizona churches have a fundamental right guaranteed by the First Amendment to use their property to gather for worship. This is great news for Arizona churches!”

For more information, visit www.azpolicy.org.

Stand for Marriage? You’re Not Alone

Stand for Marriage? You’re Not Alone

Most of the popular culture would have you think that if you believe in the true definition of marriage, you are part of a small minority. A new comprehensive study by the Alliance Defense Fund suggests otherwise. In what is likely the most extensive national research survey of its kind, ADF and Public Opinion Strategists found that 62 percent of Americans believe that “marriage should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman.”

This actually shouldn’t come as a shock. When this issue has been before the voters, 31 states have voted to protect marriage in their state constitution – like Arizona did in 2008. Reality is that we have much to be hopeful about in our battle to preserve the definition of marriage.

Who is the Father?

Father’s Day sparked a slew of stories about dads and their role in the family. Jennifer Lahl wrote this piece about a recent decision by British Columbia’s high court in favor of donor-conceived children having access to their biological information. Rulings like this are critical to advancing the public conversation about In Vitro Fertilization and understanding the rights of all involved – especially the children.

The New York Times told the story of a young boy, conceived through sperm donation, being raised by two women and the sperm donor (who the boy only knows as uncle right now) and the sperm donor’s same-sex partner. The problems with this arrangement are evident, and the long term effects on the child in this story will probably never be told. When the needs of children are second to the wants of adults, there are always consequences, and sadly, it’s typically the children who pay the price.

On the Radio

On Monday, I was on for the full hour of the Andrew Tallman Show on 1360 KPXQ AM to discuss the Abortion Consent Act litigation. I had a great time with Andrew talking about the pro-life movement in Arizona. Click here to listen to the podcast.

City Elections Impact Everyone

On the Foundations blog this week, CAP’s Blackstone legal intern Angelina wrote about the impact one city’s election can have on the entire state. Read more here.

Time is Running Out to Register to Vote

Many city elections are just two months away. If you’re not registered to vote, you’ll want to soon! If you are, please forward this email to your friends and family, and remind them to register and be sure to turn out to vote on August 30. We are in the process of compiling the results for our city election Voter Guide and will be publishing them in the next few weeks to AZVoterGuide.com.