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.

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.

First: The Wake-Up Call

On Wednesday, the Arizona Senate delivered a wake-up call to all Arizonans who value religious liberty. Religious liberty – a first freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment – is in jeopardy. The Arizona Senate failed to pass CAP-supported HB 2625that would amend current state law and stand against the Obama administration’s federal health care mandates, both of which compel employers who provide health insurance to pay for abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptive drugs even in violation of sincerely held religious beliefs.Proposed by our friends at Alliance Defense Fund and Arizona Catholic Conference, HB 2625 is crucial to protecting the religious freedom of faith-based organizations and employers that have a religious objection to contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs, by simply allowing them to be exempt from the intrusive government mandate. The legislation does not block anyone from getting these medications. The debate centers on who will pay for it.

I’ve repeatedly said that CAP does not take a position on family planning or birth control. We do, however, take a very strong position in support and defense of religious liberty. Neither the government nor an individual should be able to compel anyone to violate his or her religious beliefs, and HB 2625 seeks to ensure that this does not occur.

Stand With Us For Religious Freedom
Yesterday Senator Nancy Barto moved to reconsider the HB 2625 vote, meaning that the Senate can vote again on the bill at a later date. Take time today to stand with us by taking the steps outlined in our Action Alert.

Now: the Praise Report – 4 Major Victories!
  • HB 2036 Passes Senate – The same Arizona Senate passed major, life-affirming legislation to prohibit abortions past 20 weeks and strengthening Arizona’s informed consent requirements. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 20-10 and now awaits a final House vote before going to Gov. Brewer.
  • HB 2626 to expand Arizona’s empowerment scholarship accounts program is on the Governor’s desk.
  • HB 2712, a bill to protect minors from harmful content on school and public library computers is also on the Governor’s desk.
  • HB 2770 to protect the religious liberty of university professors passed the Senate 21-9 and awaits a final House vote.

Things are moving fast – follow all the legislative action on our Facebook page or our Bill Tracker.

Dr. Tackett in Tucson!
On April 21, Dr. Del Tackett, creator of Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project, will be in Tucson for an exclusive CAP event at Victory Worship Center. Come explore God’s unique calling for you to engage to meet needs in the community around you and discover the specific opportunities you have to make a difference right where you live. Click here for details and to register.

A Movie Worth Seeing!
Take time this weekend to see the latest life-affirming movie, October Baby, now showing in 6 AZ theaters. This movie is the powerful story of a young woman in search of hope for the future, and what she finds is that life can be so much more than what you have planned.

I Saw the Light!

I cannot begin to express the gratitude my team and I feel towards all of the supporters that turned out this week for the CAP Family Dinners in Tucson and Scottsdale with Gov. Huckabee.

During one of the most contentious sessions of my lifetime at the state Capitol, I was truly blessed by the outpouring of love and encouragement from old and new friends.

Senator Nancy Barto summed up the evening well when she posted on Facebook:

Mike Huckabee at tonight’s CAP dinner was fantastic – so funny, but hit the main point: strong families prevent a whole host of social ills government spends its resources trying to fix. Thank you to everyone who supports CAP so Legislators can pass pro-family legislation.

This year’s CAP Family Dinner was unlike any other though, and here’s why:

Gov. Huckabee picked up a bass guitar and joined the Catalina Foothills Church praise and worship band on stage for a performance of “I Saw the Light” and “America the Beautiful.” It was the perfect conclusion to an inspiring evening.

Along with the many families and legislators that joined us, I want to especially thank my staff at CAP. I cannot think of another group of people who could have pulled off two successful events back-to-back in three weeks than the team we have here at CAP.

There was a lot that happened this week at the Capitol, and there’s a lot more coming next week. You can follow all of the action on Facebook. But today, let’s give thanks to the Lord for his grace, mercy, and abundant provision.

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!

The Bully Agenda

Many have personal experiences with bullies. For some, these experiences can be truly terrible, even life-threatening. Bullying in any form is wrong and unacceptable.

In recent years, concerns about bullying have garnered national attention. But when you look behind the curtain at what is driving this nationwide dialogue, you find out that the groups that are pushing the “anti-bullying” campaigns are the same organizations working to redefine marriage and to force cultural acceptance and affirmation of homosexual lifestyles.

Take the recent bill proposed in the Arizona legislature – SB 1462. On the surface, the bill seems well-intentioned. It prohibits bullying in schools, and requires teachers, school administrators, students, and parents to undergo annual training to prevent bullying.

The questions arise when one considers which organizations would provide the training and which organizations are behind the legislation. As a leading homosexual magazine in Arizona wrote, Equality Arizona, one n ten, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) were all in attendance at the bill’s committee hearing to support and see the legislation pass.

You see, groups like Equality Arizona and GLSEN have used the bullying issue in order to gain access to our public schools. These are the groups that supporters of the bill will bring into schools to teach the anti-bullying training to our students.

What concerns me is that this is already happening. I received an email from a parent whose 11-year-old daughter was forced to watch a documentary called Bullied during class time without any parental notification or consent. Taken directly off the tolerance.org website, “Bullied is a documentary film that chronicles one student’s ordeal at the hands of anti-gay bullies and offers an inspiring message of hope to those fighting harassment today. It can become a cornerstone of anti-bullying efforts in middle and high schools.” As this dad wrote:

Upon questioning my daughter I was able to determine the video presented was the documentary Bullied. My wife and I spent the next several minutes apologizing to her that she was forced by her school to view the material … I should note the school was diligent in requiring written parental approval for my daughter to view a specific rendition of Star Wars, but the Administration need not trouble the parents over [these] materials. The material was not all that timely for our child either since we had to define for her the terms “homo” and “fag” at our dinner table.

There is no doubt about it; the “bullying” theme is agenda-driven propaganda. The irony is that groups like Equality Arizona and GLSEN have chosen this issue to bully you and me into allowing them access into our schools and to our children. To express concerns about anti-bullying bills is portrayed in the most unfavorable light.

These bullying bills are not sound public policy. Not only are they a thinly veiled attempt to allow political groups into our schools, they also divert the focus of our school system off the fundamentals. Class time should be for reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Parents—pay attention to what anti-bullying programs are being presented in your public schools. Check out the Arizona Senate vote in favor of SB 1462. Rest assured, CAP will be closely monitoring SB 1462, and will let you know if we need your help to ensure this bit of bad legislation never becomes law.

Legislative Line Up CAP-supported bills continue to move through the legislative process:

  • 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. This bill will be heard in House Judiciary next Thursday.
  • HB 2800 – Bans federal dollars that pass through the state to go to organizations that provide abortions. This bill passed House and will be heard in Senate Health next Wednesday.
  • HB 2712 – Enhances public library policies to protect minors from being exposed to pornography. This bill passed the House and will be heard in Senate Education next Monday.

An Evening You Won’t Want to Miss  
The CAP Family Dinner with Gov. Mike Huckabee is quickly approaching. There is still time for you to get your ticket or table sponsorship. These dinners are always a memorable occasion, and this year promises to be extraordinary as we look ahead to the November Elections.

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.

BREAKING NEWS: Help is on the Way for Children on Waiting Lists

Governor Jan Brewer has signed SB 1047 to expand Arizona’s Tuition Tax Credit program. This law creates a new tax credit specifically designed to help the thousands of Arizona students currently on waiting lists to attend the private school of their parents’ choice.

Under this new law, individuals can receive an additional $500 dollar-for-dollar tax credit, and married couples $1,000 – that doubles the amount you can already receive in tax credits to help children attend the school of their family’s choice!

What’s more – the scholarship tax credit program actually saves the state money! The average cost to taxpayers per student in a public school is over $8,500 while the average tax credit scholarship is around $2,000, providing much-needed cost savings to the state.

Despite the efforts of some in the Legislature to derail the bill, SB 1047 got overwhelming support in both the state House and Senate, thanks in part to the efforts of the bill’s sponsor, Senator Rick Murphy.

Click to see how your representatives and senator voted.

Please take time today to send Governor Brewer a note on her website, thanking her for signing this bill, and for her ongoing commitment to improving education in Arizona by expanding school choice.

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.