The Discussion Our Nation Needs to Have

I had “50-yard-line” seats at the Mesa Center for the Arts for the Presidential Debate this week. The conversation finally turned to a rarely discussed but very critical topic – the family and the economy.

With the eyes of the nation on the Arizona debate, the four candidates shared why our nation’s future is at risk when 40% of children are born out of wedlock.

We all must realize – this is not just a “social” issue – it’s an economic issue.

Our nation’s economy is only as strong as our families. For far too long public policy and our culture has weakened the family by attacking marriage and stifling any honest conversation about the importance of intact homes composed of a married mom and dad with children.

President Ronald Reagan described the three major interests of our nation as a three-legged stool: a strong economy, a strong foreign policy, and strong families. We need all three in order for our country to endure.

Call to Prayer

Marriage between a man and a woman is lifegiving, and a majority of Americans understand this.

Yet marriage is under constant assault. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled the California marriage amendment was unconstitutional. In Washington State, a bill was signed into law to completely redefine marriage. The New Jersey legislature passed legislation to do the same, but Governor Christie vetoed it. Maryland’s legislature recently passed similar legislation, and their governor has vowed to sign the bill.

The attacks are coming from all sides. In response, Alliance Defense Fund has called for a National Pray for Marriage Day this Sunday, February 26. This prayer guide offers suggestions to pray for a restoration of marriage in America. While there is much work to be done to protect marriage in America, we must always remember to go to the Lord first, because only He can bring us victory. Take time this Sunday to pray for marriage!

Legislative Victory! First CAP-supported Bill Heads to the Governor

SB 1047, which increases the amount individuals can receive in tax credits for donations to School Tuition Organizations to $500, and married couples to $1,000, is on Governor Brewer’s desk! These new scholarship dollars are solely designated for children on waiting lists who attend public schools and want to go to the private school of their parents’ choice.

Governor Brewer has 5 days to act on this bill. Be sure to follow our Facebook page and Bill Tracker to get the latest updates.

Have you ever been to the State Capitol?
We’ve hosted a number of Inside Looks at the Capitol since session began to give CAP supporters a peek into our daily work and how it is making Arizona a better place for families. These one-hour tours are free and allow you to interact with me and some of the other members of the CAP team. I hope you can join us and bring a friend on March 6 or March 21. The tours run from noon-1:00 p.m. You must RSVP in advance by emailing insidelook@azpolicy.org.

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.

Implications for Arizona

On Tuesday, two judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the California marriage amendment approved by a vote of the people is unconstitutional. Once again, we see judges making law, not interpreting law. Read the opinion here. Incredibly the judges can find no “rational basis” for Californians to uphold marriage.

Thankfully, this is not the final chapter in the fight to protect marriage. Let’s all remember that this is the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals – the most overturned circuit court in the country. Shortly after the decision was released, our friends at Alliance Defense Fund and ProtectMarriage.com announced they would be appealing the decision.

There are two key “take-aways” from the opinion:

  1. When states adopt laws granting legal status and other recognition to individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation, the courts are more likely to say you can’t define marriage as only the union of one man and one woman. This is one problem with civil unions, domestic partnerships, and so-called non-discrimination policies. These laws set up the argument that you cannot grant special legal recognition to persons on the basis of their sexual orientation yet deny them marriage. CAP continues to oppose efforts at the legislature to pass such laws.
  2. The U.S. President nominates and the U.S. Senate confirms the judges who sit on the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Courts. When you cast your vote in 2012, know your vote counts in deciding who gets to nominate and confirm judges.

Check out the Marriage Counterfeits Issue Brief on AZPolicyPages.com to learn more about this topic.

Now We’re Rolling
We had a full week at the state legislature. Six CAP-supported bills were heard either in committee or on the House or Senate Floor. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The “wrongful life” bill was heard in the Senate Health committee. Sponsored by Sen. Nancy Barto, SB 1359 prohibits so-called “wrongful life” and “wrongful birth” lawsuits against medical professionals for not diagnosing a birth defect of a preborn child, which, if known, would have led to the child being aborted. This bill is about ensuring that every life – whether born with a disability or not – is valued. CAP Legal Counsel Deborah Sheasby testified in support, drawing many questions from those who favor abortion. The bill passed 3-2.
  • The Senate Government Reform Committee passed by a 4-2-1 vote legislation to protect the rights of conscience of individuals who are licensed or certified by the state. Sponsored by Senator Steve Yarbrough, SB 1365 ensures no professional licensed by the state can be discriminated against because of the practice of his or her faith. I testified in support of the bill, along with ADF Senior Legal Counsel Joe Infanco.
  • Deborah also testified for another CAP-supported bill passed with bi-partisan support in the House Education Committee. HB 2770 passed 7-1 and protects college and university professors from being denied tenure because of their religious convictions or political beliefs. Read more about why Rep. Tom Forese sponsored this legislation in the East Valley Tribune.

The other big news of the week is the CAP-supported Mother’s Health and Safety Act introduced by Representative Kimberly Yee. You can read more about HB 2838 from the Associated Press. And, be sure to check out CAP’s Bill Tracker for current status on our bills and to access our Fact Sheets. Several more bills will be heard in committees next week. We’d appreciate your prayers as we work these bills through the legislative process.

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.

Flying Out of the Gates

Only a week into session and two CAP-supported bills have passed out of a committee. SB 1047 and SB 1048 strengthen and expand Arizona’s Scholarship Tax Credit program, which gives a dollar-for-dollar tax credit to donations to School Tuition Organizations (STOs). STOs then provide families with scholarships so their children can attend the school of the parents’ choice.
Praying for those in Authority
At dawn Monday before the session began, concerned citizens from across the state participated in our annual Prayer Walk. We walked the grounds of the state Capitol, including the House and Senate floors, praying for our elected officials, the current legislative session, and for the future of Arizona. I hope you join me in continuous prayer for all of those in positions of authority.
Standing for Life
Opening day was full of citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. Planned Parenthood held a rally to push the pro-abortion agenda and tell legislators “women are watching them.” As it turns out, pro-life women are watching too, and Brooke Burns and the Arizona Right to Life crew held an impromptu rally to show our elected officials support for standing for life. Carrying signs that say “We Love You – Choose Life,” about 40 people boldly stood out in the Capitol lawn in support of preborn children and protecting the health and safety of women.
Arizona Day of Prayer Challenged … again
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has once again filed a lawsuit over the Arizona Day of Prayer, but this time in state court. You may recall a federal court judge tossed out FFRF’s lawsuit against the Day of Prayer in federal court. Prayer has been at the foundation of our country from the very beginning, and it is simply absurd that organizations like this are trying to rewrite history and block religious speech in the public square. Click here to listen to my interview with Family News in Focus on the lawsuit.
WARNING: Divorce Comes with Unexpected Side Effects
The University of Arizona released a review this week of more than 30 studies on the harms of divorce. They found that individuals that go through a divorce run a significant higher risk of dying earlier than married couples. In fact, they found that risks associated with divorce are similar to smoking and excessive drinking. Read more here.
CAP Back on Radio

Be sure to tune in daily to 960 AM The Patriot before the Hugh Hewitt Show in the afternoon and KPXQ 1360 AM The Christian Station in Phoenix to catch me on the Patriot Policy Minute. For you northern Arizonans, remember to tune into 90.9 FM Radio Shine every Friday for the CAP Family Minute, our weekly update from the legislature.

A New Year Begins – Legislature Back on Monday

This week, our nation began the long march toward electing a new President with the Iowa caucus. Our state observes its 100th anniversary since joining the union February 14, 1912. As we embark on what may be one of the most critical election years in our nation’s and state’s history, I urge you to redouble your prayers, recommit to standing with us, and know that you can make a difference!

Monday is the first of many important days for Arizona in 2012, as the second regular session of the state’s 50th legislature begins. After the many successes for CAP and our pro-life and pro-family allies last session, we’re looking forward to working with legislators to advance legislation that promotes life, expands school choice, defends family values, and affirms religious liberty.

Mark your calendars for these upcoming events that will provide you the opportunity to join us in our work to promote and defend foundational values:

  • Opening Day of Session Prayer Walk, January 9 I’m sure you’ve heard me say it before, but prayer is at the core of everything we do at CAP. Scripture calls us to pray for our leaders. Accordingly, we will once again observe opening day with our annual Prayer Walk around the state Capitol this Monday from 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. More details are here.
  • “Do You Know Lacy” Training Event to Prevent Child Sex Slavery, January 12-13  The Do You Know Lacy?training is an all-day, five-track community training. You will learn about the national issue of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST), hear the personal account of a survivor, better understand what conditions make children vulnerable to trafficking, and learn the methods of pimp control, and why victims don’t self-identify or flee. There are two opportunities to participate:
    • Phoenix – January 12, 8:30 a.m. at Christ’s Church of the Valley. Register here.
    • Tucson – January 13, 8:30 a.m. at Manning House. Register here.
  • Religious Freedom Day, January 16 Governor Brewer has once again declared a Religious Freedom Day to “celebrate the first liberties enshrined in the bill of rights, which guarantees the free exercise of religion for all Americans.” (It’s important to note how blessed we are to have a governor that is not afraid to speak out for our religious liberty in the face harsh criticism). You can read Governor Brewer’s proclamation here. Our friends at Alliance Defense Fund and Gateways to a Better Education have created a free resource for churches to celebrate Religious Freedom Day here.
  • Recapture America, Tucson, January 29 CAP and Family Research Council are co-sponsoring an evening with Lt. General Jerry Boykin, Kenyn Cureton, and myself on Sunday, January 29, at 6:30 p.m. We’ll focus on the future of our state and nation, the critical nature of the 2012 elections, and how you can make a difference in your community. Admission is free; click here for more.
  • Wait No More Adoption Conference, Scottsdale, February 11 More than 350 children in foster care in Arizona need adoptive families. It’s time for the church to step up and address a great need facing our state. The Wait No More conference provides you with information about what it takes to adopt and sincerely bless and change the course of a child’s life. Sponsored by Focus on the Family, CAP, No Child Waiting Coalition, Christian Family Care Agency, and others, the conference will be at Scottsdale Bible Church. Click here to register and for more details.

Never Let Our Guard Down

Never Let Our Guard Down
Just a little over three years ago, 56% of Arizona voters decided to add these 20 simple words to our state Constitution:

Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state.

While the marriage amendment victory was a critical step to protecting marriage in Arizona, we would be foolish to think our work is done to ensure marriage is never redefined. A recent poll from the liberal Public Policy Polling group claims a smaller margin of Arizona voters now support traditional marriage – 45% say same-sex “marriage” should be illegal, and 44% say it should be legal. Their poll also says that a majority of voters think that Arizona should establish marriage counterfeits like domestic partnerships.

Of course, the poll did not ask whether marriage should be defined as only the union of one man and one woman. The questions were not exactly neutral, and the polling company typically works for those who want to redefine marriage. The obvious intent is to begin laying a foundation to ask Arizona voters to redefine marriage in the next ten years or so.

The poll shows the “never give up” commitment of marriage opponents to eventually win on the marriage issue. These organizations are well funded and are well organized. Marriage opponents will be out registering voters and working hard to influence the 2012 elections. At CAP, our team will never let our guard down in our stand to see marriage stay the union of one man and one woman.

Intern with CAP!
The next legislative session is just a month away, and we’re looking for policy and communications interns for the upcoming legislative session. This is a great opportunity to get first-hand experience working in public policy down at the state legislature. If you know any college students interested, please help us spread the word!
 

Christmas Giving and Tax Credits

I hope you will join me in participating in Arizona’s tax credit opportunities, subject to your accountant’s advice. These programs allow you to give a gift up to a certain amount to schools and non profit organizations and receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit back for your gift. Here are a few ways to give, and some organizations that have really made a positive impact on our community:

  • Public School Tax Credit: Individuals can receive a tax credit for donations up to $200 and couples up to $400 that go towards extra curricular programs at public or charter schools. Consider giving your public school tax credit to schools in impoverished areas of our state. One to consider is Fay Landrum Academy in south Phoenix.
  • Individual Tax Credit: School Tuition Organizations like Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization (ACSTO), Tuition Organization for Private Schools (TOPS), and Arizona Private Education Scholarship Fund, provide scholarships to thousands of families to choose a private school that best meets their children’s needs. Individuals can receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on gifts up to $500, and married couples up to $1,000. Click here to view a complete list of School Tuition Organizations.
  • Charitable Tax Credit: Like the public school credit, individuals can receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for gifts up to $200 and married couples can receive a tax credit for gifts up to $400. Consider supporting one of the pregnancy care centers that qualify for the charitable tax credit. Or consider supporting Christian Family Care and their work to find homes for kids in foster care through their Connect One program. Click here to view the complete list of organizations that are eligible for the Charitable Tax Credit.

Not the Way Out

Not the Way Out

The budget crisis across the country is on everyone’s mind. Just this week, our national debt topped $15 trillion. In Arizona, our leaders are seeking ways to responsibly meet our own state budget needs.

As the Legislature searches for ways to balance our state budget, with some wanting to increase state revenues, I am becoming increasingly concerned that the expansion of gambling is being considered. Changing our state laws to allow casinos at racetracks – “racinos” – would dramatically change the character of our state and impact families.

Legislators shouldn’t balance the budget on the backs of Arizona’s families. The harms of gambling, while not often discussed, are very real. You can read more of on this on the Foundations blog.

Thankfully, more than half of the members of the House and of the Senate indicated in CAP’s 2010 Voter Guide that they would oppose “Allowing slot machines and table games off Indian reservations.” I remain confident that they will stay true to their word and not allow gambling to expand.

Still a Long Way to Go
A few weeks ago, I told you that abortions in Arizona had dropped by 30% in September, according to newly released Department of Health Services data. This week, DHS released updated numbers showing that the decrease in numbers continues but not at the 30% pace originally reported. The good news is that abortions still dropped by 417 over the last three months compared to the same time period in 2010. No doubt the drop in abortions directly resulted from the court decision upholding the Abortion Consent Act, the enactment of Arizona’s ultrasound requirement, and Planned Parenthood’s ending abortion services at seven of their ten clinics.

The new data, however, deeply troubles me because 179 preborn children have been aborted at 20 and 21 weeks from January-October 2011, and children can survive outside of the womb at 20 weeks. It’s a sign of how much work remains when babies who could clearly survive outside their mother’s wombs are not surviving inside their mother’s womb.

Key Victory for Marriage Proponents in California
Finally, good news from California’s Prop 8 litigation! The California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the ProtectMarriage.com legal team can defend the state marriage amendment in court. You may recall that the state governor and attorney general both refused to defend the marriage amendment on behalf of the voters. Yesterday’s decision puts in place the strongest legal team to represent the right of voters to define marriage.

All eyes are on the Prop 8 case, Perry v Brown, as it likely will determine whether individual states have the right to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman or whether the federal courts will take away that right.

Weak Arguments
Also this week, a federal court judge heard arguments from the state and the ACLU about a CAP-supported bill that disqualifies donations to organizations that provide, promote, pay for, or provide referrals for abortion from being eligible for the working poor tax credit. The ACLU, representing the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence, is arguing that Arizona should be forced to provide the benefit of the working poor tax credit to organizations that refer women for abortion.

CAP is supporting the state’s defense. On the Foundations blog this week, our Legal Counsel Deborah Sheasby explains why the ACLU’s case is based on weak arguments.

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

Tuesday’s Election Results

Tuesday’s Election Results

For some conservatives, Tuesday’s elections across the country were a disappointment. I caution you to not read too much into these election results. No doubt, though, our work is cut out for us in the 2012 elections to register voters, educate voters, and turn out values voters.

I’ve been asked about the defeat of the “Personhood Amendment” in Mississippi. The intent of this amendment was to define life as beginning at conception and stop legalized abortion. Previously, Colorado had defeated a similar amendment twice. Nevada proponents are working to put the amendment on their next ballot.

While I support the goal behind “Personhood,” I join with many other national pro-life leaders and strategists in favoring a different approach in our efforts to protect preborn life and mothers. I do not consider the Mississippi results to be a setback for the pro-life movement. Rather, the pro-life movement continues to move forward with 86 new pro-life laws passing this year alone in states. Those laws are resulting in fewer abortions. Our U.S. House has a pro-life majority. Further, in recent years, more and more people continue to identify themselves as “pro-life” instead of “pro-choice.” The dream of living in a country that respects the sanctity of human life from its very beginning to its natural end is not far-fetched. To get there though, it will take wise leadership, patience, and most importantly prayer.

Regarding the recall of Senate President Russell Pearce in Legislative District 18, I thank Sen. Pearce for his unwavering stands through the years in defense of preborn life, school choice, religious liberty, and marriage. Sen. Pearce never hesitated to support CAP’s legislative agenda. He always was available to help us move bills through the process and speak out in support of life, marriage and family, and religious liberty.
The Arizona legislature is still overwhelmingly pro-life and pro-family, with a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate. I am looking forward to working with the legislature in the upcoming session to promote and defend foundational values.

Marriage Opponents in Corporate America
You may be surprised to learn that 70 corporations – including some of our country’s most recognizable brands – filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of overturning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in a federal lawsuit.

Microsoft, Starbucks, Google, NIKE, Levi Strauss and Co., CBS, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mass., Time Warner Cable, and Xerox all signed onto the brief filed in the case of Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, urging the court to deem DOMA unconstitutional.
This is a growing and disturbing trend in the country. Individuals determined to completely redefine marriage are working behind the scenes in positions of power throughout corporate America to radically change the most important institution in our culture and isolate those of us who believe in the true definition of marriage.
Other examples include when TOMS Shoes, a for-profit organization that donates shoes to children in Africa for every pair sold, broke off a partnership with Focus on the Family due to pressure from homosexual activists. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz buckled under the same pressure and canceled a speaking engagement at Willow Creek Community Church because of their biblical views on sexuality.
Pray that those within these corporations who support foundational principles, especially marriage, would stand up and oppose these moves.

William Wilberforce Award
I was honored to receive the news that I will be awarded the William Wilberforce Award at the First Annual Students for Life West Coast Gala tomorrow for my efforts to promote and defend life in public policy.
Defending the sanctity of human life has been one of God’s great callings in my life, and I am truly blessed to be receiving this award named for one of my heroes, the great abolitionist William Wilberforce.
I am grateful to Students for Life for the recognition, and I share this award with our amazing team at Center for Arizona Policy – both past and present – and with all of our ministry friends.

Forced to Perform Abortions
Read the story of the 12 nurses whose employer is trying to force them to participate in abortions on the Foundations blog, and how, thanks to the Abortion Consent Act, Arizona’s healthcare professionals are free from this type of persecution.

 

Students for Life of America Honors Cathi Herrod with Wilberforce Leadership Award

Dear Friends,

I am thrilled to announce that this Saturday, SFLA will honor Cathi Herrod, President of the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), with our Wilberforce Leadership Award for her outstanding efforts within the pro-life movement in the state of Arizona!

Mrs. Herrod will be honored at the Students for Life of America Inaugural West Coast Gala in Phoenix, Arizona this Saturday, November 12th, at the Arizona Biltmore Resort. (For more information on the Gala or to purchase tickets, please visit www.sfla2011gala.com.)

The Wilberforce Leadership Award is named about the British social justice and human rights activist, William Wilberforce, who led the fight to abolish the slave trade and was successful in helping to end slavery in Great Britain. SFLA’s awards two pro-life leaders each year who, like Wilberforce, are working to create, enforce, and uphold laws that will eventually abolish the greatest human rights threat our nation faces in abortion.

As President of CAP, Cathi has spearheaded a number of pro-life initiatives that have gained national notoriety and have affected policies and regulations across the U.S. Most notably, in February of 2009, the Arizona Legislature, along with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and under Mrs. Herrod’s influence, enacted into law HB2564, known as the Abortion Consent Act.

Key provisions of this important legislation included:

  • A notarized parental signature is required before an abortion can be performed on a minor child.
  • Abortionists must provide women with full and accurate information, in-person at least 24 hours before an abortion.
  • Medical professionals cannot be forced to perform abortions if it contradicts their religious or moral beliefs.
  • Non-doctors are not permitted to perform surgical abortions.

Under Cathi’s leadership, CAP has helped pass state legislation that has banned partial-birth abortion (1997), revised abortion clinic safety standards (2000), prohibited nurses from performing surgical abortions (2002), ended taxpayer-funded insurance coverage for government employees’ abortions (2010), required ultrasounds before abortions, banned telemedicine abortions, and improved safety standards for abortion facilities (2011), among many others. For a list of other CAP supported bills that have become Arizona Law, click here: http://www.azpolicy.org/center-supported-bills.

Because of her work in Arizona, Cathi has helped reduce abortions and save countless lives. She is an inspiration to all young pro-life leaders who seek a career like Cathi’s that will allow them to make a difference and end the horrific practice of abortion. Cathi could not be more deserving of this honor, and I look forward to presenting it to her this Saturday!

If you would like to send Cathi a note of thanks and encouragement, please e-mail her at cathi_herrod@azpolicy.org.

For Life,

Kristen Hawkins

Students

Center for Arizona Policy: There’s a lot on the line

There’s a lot on the line
In just four days, three very important elections will be taking place in Arizona that will have a profound impact on the state for years to come. In Tucson and Phoenix, voters will be electing new mayors. In Legislative District 18, voters are faced with a historic recall election between current Senate President Russell Pearce and challenger Jerry Lewis.CAP has published Voter Guides in all three of these elections on azvoterguide.com. City elections particularly are often overlooked, but local governments are playing an increasingly larger role in the lives of Arizona families. If you live in these communities, do not sit out these races! Be informed, and vote your values. If you don’t live in these communities, be sure your friends and family cast their ballots.One last important point – if you received an early ballot, it is too late to mail it in. For your vote to count, you must drop it off at an election center.

There’s a lot on the line, Part II
I’ve been getting asked “What’s up with this redistricting fiasco?” Make no mistake – what happens with redistricting of Arizona’s congressional and legislative district boundaries will determine the makeup of Arizona’s congressional delegation and State Legislature for the next 10 years. Don’t believe all you read in the newspapers.In 2000, voters approved Proposition 106 to establish a five-person “Independent Redistricting Commission” (IRC) to draw district lines rather than leave the task to the State Legislature. This commission is made up of two Republicans, two Democrats, and one Independent, who serves as the commission chair.The district lines drawn by the IRC must meet several constitutional requirements. Read a legal overview of the process here. Numerous and very serious legal questions have been raised about whether this year’s IRC has conducted a fair and open process, whether the mapping consultant and independent chair have political biases, and whether the draft district lines follow the constitutionally required criteria – like ensuring communities of interest are together and that the districts are geographically compact.
This week, Governor Jan Brewer and the State Senate concluded the IRC had not followed the constitutional requirements for redistricting. Pursuant to the authority granted to them by Prop 106, Gov. Brewer and the Senate removed Chairwoman Colleen Mathis from the commission. Read Gov. Brewer’s statement here and the Legislature report here.What’s next? Mathis has asked the courts to intervene and block her removal. The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments is meeting Monday to discuss the process to recommend candidates to replace Mathis. Time is running short to have the new lines ready for the 2012 elections. The old lines for congressional districts cannot be used because Arizona is gaining one new congressional district due to population growth. Stay tuned – this controversy is far from over and the outcome critical to the future representation of Arizonans like you and me.

A Second Chance to Save a Marriage
No-fault divorce in America has wreaked immeasurable harm on so many families over the last 40 years. Through Covenant Marriage and divorce reform laws, CAP has workedto promote public policy that restores the meaning of marriage, and gives couples considering divorce the opportunity to reconcile.Former Georgia Supreme Court Justice Leah Sears released a bold plan to reduce unnecessary divorces, by giving couples a one-year waiting period before finalizing a divorce. According to Ms. Sears’ research, many divorces are preventable.Research over the past decade has shown that a major share of divorces (50 to 66 percent, depending on the study) occur between couples who had average happiness and low levels of conflict in the years before the divorce.I encourage you to read Ms. Sears’ recent op-ed in the Washington Post about her proposed legislation here.

Man Knows Not His Time

Man Knows Not His Time
Yesterday I received the sad news that a dear ministry friend, Pastor Leo Godzich, passed away following a car accident while in Uganda to preach. I first met Leo twenty-five years ago when he was ministering to individuals suffering from AIDS. Through the years, Leo and I worked together on Arizona’s laws to establish a covenant marriage license, funding for marriage skills instruction, divorce reform, and Arizona’s state constitutional marriage amendment. Leo and his wife Molly founded and led the National Association for Marriage Enhancement, a ministry dedicated to applying biblical principles to marriage. Leo dedicated his life to standing for God’s design for marriage between one man and one woman first as a pastor but also in the public policy arena. He was always available to testify on legislation or help lead the effort – whatever was needed, Leo was willing to serve and be used of God. Most recently, Leo provided valuable testimony on Arizona’s new CAP-supported lawto change our divorce laws. A longtime Sunday school leader at Phoenix First Assembly, only God knows how many married couples avoided divorce because of Leo’s teaching and ministry. Pray for his dear wife Molly and his three lovely daughters. As we work to strengthen marriage and reform divorce laws, I will miss the wisdom and leadership of this dear friend and co- laborer.
An Unknown Partnership
The American Civil Unions filed a preliminary injunction this week to block key elements of CAP-supported HB 2384from taking effect. The ACLU is trying to block the provision disallows donations to organizations that provide, promote, pay for, or provide referrals for abortion from being eligible for the working poor tax credit.The ACLU filed the case on behalf of the Arizona Domestic Violence Coalition. It may be surprising to many people that the Domestic Violence Coalition has close ties to the abortion industry. It’s outrageous that the coalition would fight so vehemently in order to be able to promote abortion to the vulnerable women that seek their care. Like every bill CAP supports, we are committed to seeing this law defended in court and upheld.
Be Aware: Porn Harms
Pornography is now more readily accessible than at any other time in history. In recent years, pornography has invaded the cell phone, tablet, and video game console market, using every leap in technology as a way to stretch its ugly tentacles into homes.A CAP ally, Arizona Family Council, has helped organize a national Internet campaign for next week’s White Ribbon Against Pornography Week. Live webinars and Internet events will be available daily for families and communities to learn more about the fight against illegal pornography. For more information, check out pornharms.com/beaware or visit their Facebook page.

Promoting the Propaganda

 

Promoting the Propaganda

The spin is in full effect surrounding Arizona’s new law establishing a marital preference in adoption. From the time the CAP-supported SB 1188 was introduced, opponents have gone out of their way to distort the intention and effect of the bill – and the media has happily gone along with their story line.

SB 1188 is based on a simple principle: children deserve the opportunity to have a married mom and dad. Study after study shows that the best environment for a child is an intact home with a married mom and dad. SB 1188 requires that marital status is considered in adoption placements and establishes a preference for children to be adopted by a married man and woman when all other relevant factors are equal.

For months, there have been news stories and blog posts from our opponents – especially the homosexual lobby – saying this bill will decrease adoptions by discouraging single parents to adopt.

Let me be clear: the implementation of Arizona’s new law does not prohibit single individuals from adopting or becoming a foster parent. The new law does not mean that any child should be left in the state foster care system waiting for a married mom and dad when a single individual qualifies as an adoptive parent. CAP Communications Director Aaron Baer discusses a recent misleading story on the Foundations blog.

Positive Trend Towards Abstinence

A recent study from the Center for Disease Control reports a steady increase in teenagers abstaining from sex over the last 22 years.

In 2006-2010, about 57% of never-married female teenagers, and about 58% of never-married male teenagers, ages 15-19 years, have never had sex. For younger teens, ages 15-17 years, 73% of girls and 72% of boys have not had sex.

Abstinence until marriage remains a critical issue for our culture. For example, eight in 10 abortions are performed on unmarried women and four of 10 children are born to unwed mothers.

Strong Marriages and Economies

Everyone has their theories about the factors behind the current economic crisis in America. Many, however, refuse to consider the severe impact the breakdown of the family contributes to the nation’s economic woes.

Strong families are at the center of a strong economy and nation. The data backs this up. Dr. Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, has conducted in-depth studies on the important role families play in our society.

In a recent editorial, Dr. Wilcox wrote “children are more likely to acquire the human and social capital they need to thrive in the modern economy when they are raised in an intact, married family. In the U.S., for instance, children are more likely to graduate from high school, complete college and be gainfully employed as young adults if they were raised in an intact, married family.”

What does this mean for public policy? It means lawmakers should only support legislation that promotes marriages and strong families. State and federal laws should not attack or weaken marriage or the traditional family.

Only a Week Left to Get Your Ticket

The Faith in Action Tour is just a week away, and we’ve already sold 1,300 tickets! Not only will Dr. Del Tackett speak live at this special event, but attendees will have the opportunity to meet with more than 30 local community service organizations, including Phoenix Rescue Mission, Arms of Love Foster Care, ArizonaServes, Crisis Pregnancy Centers of Phoenix, and Streetlight Phoenix. Still time to get your tickets – click here to order yours before we’re sold out!

Aborting for a better life?


Aborting for a better life?

Abortion advocates promote many myths and falsehoods to sell abortions. One of the most offensive results of legalized abortions remains the fact that up to 80-90% of preborn children with Down syndrome are aborted. If a baby is diagnosed in utero with having or being at risk for having Down syndrome, the parents often are advised strongly that the “humane” thing to do is abort the child. The so-called medical professionals and pro-abortion advocates also will say an abortion will spare the parents a life full of hardships.

Yet like most things that come from the deceptive pro-abortion crowd, this is completely wrong – and the research proves it. A recent study published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics surveyed 2,044 parents of children with Down syndrome and found that 99% reported that they love their son or daughter; 97% were proud of them; and 79% felt their outlook on life was more positive because of them.

Somehow our opponents have lost sight of the value of all life. CAP Legal Counsel Deborah Sheasby writes more about these studies on the Foundations blog.

Summing Up the Values Voters Summit

Last weekend, I attended the Values Voters Summit. I listened closely to seven of the eight candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination. I also had the chance to meet with 21 of my Family Policy Council colleagues from across the country to discuss what’s happening in our states and look ahead toward 2012.

Each speaker voiced grave concerns about the future of our country and the critical importance of the 2012 elections. The number of opportunities we face is only matched by the number of challenges we face. My prayer is that the turnaround and victories we’ve experienced in Arizona will carry over to Washington, D.C., and the rest of the nation. Each of us must stay informed this election season, register voters, and be sure to turn out to vote when the time comes. Most importantly, we must all remember to pray daily for our state and nation.

The Best Interests of the Child

The U.S. Supreme Court this week refused to hear a case from a same-sex couple in Louisiana that was trying to force the state to list both adults on a child’s birth certificate as parents. Louisiana, like Arizona, only allows for two people to be listed as the parents of a child if they are a married man and a woman (both states allow for singles to adopt, too). The Court’s decision not to hear the case means that an earlier ruling upholding Louisiana’s adoption laws stands.

While the courts haven’t always been friendly to those of us that recognize the importance of marriage and family to our culture, this was a welcomed victory.

Recall Election Voter Guide Now Available

CAP has surveyed the two candidates in the upcoming Legislative District 18 Special Recall Election and posted the Voter Guide to azvoterguide.com. Click here to access it.

Will I see you on October 29?

The Faith in Action Tour is two weeks away on October 29. Dr. Del Tackett, along with more than 30 local community service organizations will be joining CAP at Bethany Bible Church from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. So far, we’ve already had more than 800 people register for this unique event. Space is limited and you won’t want to miss it! Click here to get yours!

Catch me on Radio Shine

Just reminder to tune-in to 90.9 FM every Friday morning or afternoon to catch me on the CAP Family Minute on Radio Shine.