The Arizona primary election will be held on August 28, 2012. With so many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of this election year can’t be overstated. To help voters, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive health and freedom. Along with those endorsements, we are launching a series called “Meet Our Candidates,” spotlighting each Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona-endorsed candidate. To vote in the primaries, you must register to vote by July 30 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!
This installment of the “Meet Our Candidates” series spotlights Mohur Sidhwa, a candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 9. A Tucson resident for 31 years, Sidhwa first came to Arizona to pursue a graduate degree in anthropology from the University of Arizona. Since then, she has worked for numerous campaigns, both to elect candidates and to defeat propositions she considered “destructive.” The latter includes the campaigns against Proposition 107 in 2006 and Proposition 102 in 2008, which were introduced to curtail the rights of same-sex couples. Sidhwa has served as a chair for her legislative district and was recognized in 2007 as an outstanding district chair.
“Those untrained in the sciences or…without a knowledge of the medical field should not be making medical decisions, much less passing laws on these issues.”
As a candidate for state representative, Sidhwa believes freedom of personal choices, such as family planning and women’s health care, is imperative for Arizona. What follows is an exclusive interview with Sidhwa, who shared her views about reproductive health care access and freedoms with us on July 3, 2012.
What women’s health care issues do you think should be addressed in the legislature?
The legislature should reverse the damage on women’s health concerns in the previous sessions. Then they need to stay out of women’s personal lives and medical options and their reproductive strategies. These are a matter of health, and literally their lives are at stake.
We must have doctors and ob/gyns. There is a shortage of doctors for women’s health. Those who are trained in the field cannot deliver the best care possible because of constraints on doctors.
Gynecology is a time-intensive field in medicine. Affordability factors for the practitioner are an issue. They lose money on a large number of patients. There is a shortage of trained doctors in all the procedures. Many are barely breaking even and are forced to cut their services or give up the independence of their practice and join larger groups. All of these have unintended consequences on a woman’s health and safety. This is unacceptable and must be corrected.
Why do you think it is important that people make their own health care choices?
I see this issue as one of basic rights. Those untrained in the sciences, or those without a knowledge of the medical field, should not be making medical decisions, much less passing laws on these issues.
It is our constitutional right that we get to make our own decisions about areas dealing with any aspect of our health. People involved and their loved ones can make the best decision. The role of government is to make sure that people have information and a range of choices on a level playing field and can follow through with those decisions safely and affordably, with a trained ob/gyn.
Why do you support comprehensive sex education in our schools?
Fundamental knowledge and education on health is a good thing. This is especially important before youth engage in sexual behavior. There are many myths and misinformation about sexual health, as well as relationship management, that surround our youth. Clear, medically accurate information on birth control, STDs, and fertility, sexuality and sexual orientation, and more, will help keep them safe and healthy. It will also helps prevent teen pregnancies. This is good for the individual as well as for society.
Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?
This is an organization that I have long respected for all the work it does on behalf of women, girls, and men. Often this is the only place low-income women can go to for preventive care ranging from pelvic exams to STD testing, ovarian and breast cancer screenings. It literally saves lives. I see access to birth control and information on the subject in a safe and nonjudgmental environmental as a basic right. Planned Parenthood is the only organization that offers these very comprehensive services. I am proud to be endorsed by an organization that will be there for women at all stages from the young till menopause. I am proud of the fight they have put up over the years for our rights. I am proud that it is a multi-partisan organization. I am proud and honored by their endorsement.
For a sizable population of women in Arizona there are no accessibility or delivery mechanisms on the range of women’s health issues other than Planned Parenthood. PP fills a void in this essential service. I thank them.
You can learn more about Mohur Sidhwa by visiting her campaign website at sidhwa2012.com. As she makes clear in her interview, and as she puts it on her campaign’s Facebook page, Sidhwa “fully understand[s] the need to be vigilant with regards to civil liberties, especially as to how they impact women.”
Sidhwa will be a candidate for Legislative District 9 on the August 28 primary ballot. Due to recent redistricting, you might not know what legislative district you live in. Please click here to find out what Arizona legislative district you live in. And, regardless of which legislative district in Arizona you live in, you can contact us if you’d like to volunteer for an endorsed candidate in your area.