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.

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.

Superintendent John Huppenthal to Close Out Arizona School Choice Week Festivities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 26, 2012
CONTACT: Andrew LeFevre

Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal to Close Out Arizona School Choice Week Festivities
Arizona’s Groundbreaking Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Ruled Constitutional

Phoenix, AZ, Thursday, January 26, 2012 – On Friday morning, January 27 at 11:00 AM, Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal will close out National School Choice Week activities here in Arizona by addressing thousands of students and parents at Edu-Prize campus located at 4567 West Roberts Road in Queen Creek, Arizona. Along with message on school choice week, Superintendent Huppenthal will be discussing the ruling earlier this week by Arizona Superior Court upholding the constitutionality of Arizona’s innovative Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) for special needs students.

“I am a firm believer that educational decisions should be made at the most local level possible,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal. “To me that means parents should be able to make the decision on which school will best meet the unique educational needs of their child.”

Friday, January 28 marks the end of the second annual National School Choice Week. All across the nation, school choice advocates and organizations, grassroots networks, parents and students held hundreds of events to increase awareness of the importance of providing effective educational options for every child. Arizona’s events included rallies and balloon launches at schools all across the state, a screening of the award winning documentary “Waiting for Superman,” and a virtual Congressional Town Hall.

As an added bonus to the School Choice Week activities, on Wednesday a Superior Court Judge found that Arizona’s ESAs which benefit special needs students was constitutional under Arizona law. Under the ESA program, parents are able to take 90 percent of the state education funding that is provided to their child and use it to purchase educational services that they deem best meet their child’s unique needs.

“The judge’s ruling was a great victory for parents and our most vulnerable students,” exclaimed Superintendent Huppenthal. “The ESA program epitomizes what school choice is all about – giving parents direct control over their children’s education.”

“To me one of Arizona’s greatest educational assets is our school choice environment,” continued Superintendent Huppenthal. “I am very excited to be able to be at Edu-Prize and hear firsthand from the students and parents about how being able to choose this school has made a difference in their education.”

Superintendent John Huppenthal has been a champion in the struggle to give parents greater control of their children’s education for over 18 years. In 1994 he led Arizona efforts to bring charter schools to the state. As Senate Education Committee Chairman in 1995, he sponsored and helped pass legislation that took the caps off the number of charter schools allowed under the law. He led the effort in developing some of the strongest home school and public school open enrollment laws in the nation. He was also a leader in the efforts to allow individuals and corporations to claim educational tax credits to fund student scholarships. Due to his efforts, tens of thousands of students have been able attend a school of their parent’s choice.

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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.

Upcoming Events: 2012 Arizona School Choice Week

7/10, 419, 101, 1500: 2011 by the Numbers


7/10, 419, 4, 101, 1,500 – The 2011 highlights for Arizona families can be painted by the numbers. Here are five victories I’m most grateful for:
1) 7 Out of 10
Yavapai County Planned Parenthood that no longer offers abortion
Following our victory in the State Court of Appeals upholding the Abortion Consent Act, Planned Parenthood announced they would end abortion services at 7 of their 10 Arizona locations. This led to our next unexpected success…

2) 419 Lives  

The combination of Planned Parenthood ending abortion services at 7 of their 10 clinics with the new informed consent provisions in the Abortion Consent Act led to 419 fewer abortions performed from August to October of 2011, compared to the same time in 2010. This work is saving lives!

3) Winning in Court – 4 MAJOR Cases  

Cathi Outside Court of Appeals after ACA
Me outside the State Court of Appeals following oral arguments in the
Abortion Consent Act

 

  • The Arizona Court of Appeals upheld the Abortion Consent Act. Now in Arizona, minors must have notarized parental consent before an abortion, women must have an in-person consultation with a doctor at least 24 hours before an abortion, health care workers are protected from being forced to participate in abortions against their religious beliefs, and non-doctors cannot perform surgical abortions.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the CAP-supported Scholarship Tax Credit Program which provides tens of thousands of scholarships every year to ensure children can attend the school of their parent’s choice.
  • In a CAP-defended case, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit ruled the City of Yuma violated the religious liberty rights of a church when the city forced the church out of their downtown location because Yuma felt the church “didn’t fit in” with what they wanted downtown.
  • A U.S. District Court dismissed a baseless lawsuit against Governor Jan Brewer filed by the “Freedom From Religion Foundation.” The Foundation filed the lawsuit against the governor for her proclamation of the Arizona Day of Prayer.

4) 101 Bills  

At our spring dinner, Gov. Brewer signs CAP-supported legislation ensuring that an ultrasound is performed before an abortion.
Sixteen CAP-supported bills were signed into law in 2011, bringing the total number of CAP-supported bills enacted into law to 101. Thirty-eight of these bills were signed into law in the last three years alone. In 2011, a CAP-supported resolution honoring pregnancy care centers and a CAP-supported judicial reform ballot measure also passed.

5) 1,500+ Come to Put Their Faith in Action

                      Dr. Del Tackett speaking at the Faith in Action Tour
More than 1,500 people attended our Faith in Action Tour at Bethany Bible Church to discover how to be a part of the movement to transform our state through service.


Meeting the Challenge 

These are just a few of the highlights of 2011 – I could go on and on about how God equipped our work this year, enabling us to meet many challenges and opportunities. But we still have one major challenge to overcome this year and we need your help.

With less than two weeks remaining in this year, we still have not met our 2011 budget needs. Our team has been meeting this week to prepare to take on the many challenges and opportunities that await us in 2012. To forge ahead in a strong position, it’s essential that we finish this year in a strong financial position.

CAP is entirely funded by generous families like yours that believe in our work and want to partner with us – we receive no government grants or funding. Would you help us meet this final challenge of 2011 by giving an online gift today? Any support you can provide would be sincerely appreciated.

Contribute

(Or you can send us a gift in the mail: PO Box 97250, Phoenix, AZ 85060)

We all know what’s on the line in 2012, especially with the upcoming election. At Center for Arizona Policy, we are prepared and more than willing and ready to accomplish so much more in the months and years to come. Thank you for your support!