Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Another day, another moronic member of the GOP telling us that rape, in some way or another, isn’t all that bad for women. Maybe a pregnancy resulting from it was even “intended by God.” #Facepalm (HuffPo)
  • Joe Walsh, yet another imbecilic dunce from the GOP (they just keep crawling out of the woodwork, don’t they? Like termites!) says that advances in medicine have made pregnancy-related deaths obsolete and, thus, there’s never a need for abortions solely for the health of the mother. (Jezebel)
  • And if you thought it couldn’t get any worse than that, you’re sadly mistaken. Pennsylvania is considering a bill that would reduce welfare benefits for women who cannot prove their child was conceived from a rape. Nothing like dooming a woman and her offspring to abject poverty if she can’t prove her child was conceived without her consent. #GOPValues (Think Progress)
  • A sobering, fact-filled piece on rape being used as a political tool by Republican men in the debate over reproductive rights. (RH Reality Check)
  • President Obama wishes politicians would stay out of women’s health care. So do we, sir. (Politico)
  • Texas has won a court battle to exclude Planned Parenthood from the state health care program that provides services to low-income women. (Business Week)
  • Arizona and Indiana can forget about defunding Planned Parenthood, though, says the judicial system. (AP)
  • Meanwhile, in France, lawmakers passed a bill allowing free abortions for all women and free contraception for girls ages 15 to 18. (Global Post)
  • Somebody alert the rest of the media and call a press conference: Free birth control leads to fewer abortions. (South Florida Times)

Meet Our Candidates: Greg Gadek for State Senate, LD 25

The Arizona general election will be held on November 6, 2012, and early voting is underway. After the many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of voting in November 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 spotlighting our endorsed candidates in a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” Make your voice heard in 2012!

Mesa’s legislative district hasn’t had a candidate like Greg Gadek in several years. In the last two election cycles, the Republican candidate in Legislative District 25 has run unopposed, even though in Mesa, Democrats and independents together outnumber Republicans — a majority that Gadek believes isn’t being represented by the far-right conservatism that’s become so entrenched in the legislature.


“The deeply personal issues of reproductive choice and whom to choose as a domestic partner or spouse should be considered fundamental freedoms and protected by Arizona law.”


Running as an alternative to what he has called “a good old boy network” and “business as usual,” Gadek has received Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona’s endorsement for his commitment to reproductive freedom and access to reproductive health care. He also noted in his interview with PPAA that he is the first person to run for office in Mesa who supports marriage equality.

Located in Maricopa County, the newly redistricted LD 25 comprises approximately half of Mesa, including Dana Park, The Groves, Hohokam Park, Red Mountain Ranch, Riverview, Las Sendas, and Superstition Springs. Gadek generously took time for an interview with PPAA on October 16, 2012, to talk about his candidacy.

Please tell us a little about your background.

My name is Greg Gadek and I am the Democratic candidate for state Senate in Mesa’s newly redistricted LD 25. I have been a resident of our Mesa district for over 25 years and, with my wife Jennifer, have raised our family here. I have been a registered independent for most of my life but my views have always been closely aligned with the Democratic Party.

Arizona Republicans have merged to the extreme far right and I believe that it is time to stand up and take our state back to the middle. Regardless of your party affiliation, if you are frustrated and angry with Mesa’s “politics as usual,” our campaign gives you a real choice. I hope to have the opportunity to meet you in person over the coming weeks and months. And I hope that you will join me. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Carol Lokare for State Representative, LD 21

Head and shoulders portrait photo of Carol Lokare.The Arizona general election will be held on November 6, 2012, and early voting started on October 11. After the many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of voting in November 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 spotlighting our endorsed candidates in a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” Make your voice heard in 2012!

Earlier this month we profiled Dr. Richard Carmona, a former U.S. surgeon general and Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, as well as Jo Holt, a retired biochemist running for the state Senate. And last month we spotlighted Dr. Eric Meyer, a physician with experience in emergency medicine, who is running for the Arizona House of Representatives. Another candidate who would bring scientific and medical expertise to the Arizona Legislature is Carol Lokare. As an experienced registered nurse, Lokare understands both the factual basis (or lack thereof) for family planning legislation as well as the human side of the equation: how such legislation would impact people’s lives.

Lokare is currently seeking to represent Legislative District 21 — an area that includes El Mirage, Peoria, and part of Glendale — in the Arizona House of Representatives. She took the time for an interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona on October 17, 2012.


“I am someone who can be trusted to look out for women and families, someone who will advocate for affordable, comprehensive, easily accessible health care.”


Tell us a little bit about your background.

For the past 32 years I have worked as a registered nurse. I am a 1980 graduate of Phoenix College’s nursing program and a 1984 graduate of the University of Colorado Adult/Geriatric Nurse Practitioner Program. I have a varied background in the nursing field, having worked as a bedside nurse; manager of a hospital medical unit in Los Gatos, California; school nurse; and as a nurse practitioner in a geriatric practice in Sun City, Arizona. I recently took a leave of absence as a cardiac care nurse at Banner Boswell Hospital in Sun City to devote time and attention to my campaign for the Arizona House of Representatives, LD 21. I also have a bachelor of science degree in political science from Arizona State University.

I have been married to my husband, Sanjay, for 25 years, and we have three children, a son and two daughters.

Why do you think it is important that people make their own health care choices? What role do you feel the government should play in legislating and facilitating health care services, especially reproductive health care services?

Because of my background in the health care field this is a question that I feel can be answered in a simple and straightforward way. I cannot think of one time in the last 32 years where I have felt it necessary for any elected government official to step in and make a health care decision for a patient. All health care decisions can and should be made by a patient, his/her physician, and concerned family, without meddlesome interference by outsiders. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Angela LeFevre for State Representative, LD 6

Portrait photo of Angela LeFevreThe Arizona general election will be held on November 6, 2012, with early voting starting today. After the many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of voting in November 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 spotlighting our endorsed candidates in a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” Make your voice heard in 2012!

On her campaign website, Angela LeFevre describes herself as “a broad-minded Democrat who’s been involved in politics all [her] life.” In fact, she graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a degree in economics and international relations. She’s worked on a number of social and political causes throughout the United States, the most recent being as president of the board of Democrats of the Red Rocks (DORR), a position she held until she resigned to seek election to the Arizona House of Representatives.


“When circumstances arise and a woman is faced with a difficult choice, government has no place in making that decision for her.”


LeFevre is running as a candidate in the new Legislative District 6, an area of substantial scope, both in geography and in diversity of constituents. It extends north of Sedona and Flagstaff to the edge of Grand Canyon National Park, south past Payson and into areas of the Tonto National Forest, and east to Heber-Overgard and the Sitgreaves National Forest.

LeFevre took the time for an interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona on October 9, 2012.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I was born in Leeds, England and earned a degree in economics and international relations from the London School of Economics. I immigrated to the United States in 1981 after having spent a year in Iowa as a foreign student in 1967. I knew I would come back here to live. I taught fourth grade in a New Orleans public school where my two children were students. I also started a small telecommunications business, which required hiring employees. From that I moved into the corporate world in senior management for Qwest Communications for 14 years. That meant living in Denver, Colorado, where I became active with the Democratic Party.

My life experience provides me with the skills and knowledge base to address the most crucial issues in Arizona today: the economy, jobs, and education. I have been a consistently strong advocate for women and will remain so when elected. In the past I worked on behalf of other political candidates, especially women, volunteered many hours working with disadvantaged teens both here and in Colorado. My reasons for running are many but mainly, I believe Arizona is on the wrong track, that our legislature has not represented Arizona’s citizens.

In the previous legislative session, there were a lot of bad bills that negatively affected access to birth control (HB2625), funding for family planning (HB2800), abortion (HB2036), and unbiased information about unintended pregnancies in public schools (SB1009). What kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see introduced, and why do you think it’s important to fight for it?

The legislature has been putting the cart before the horse regarding these issues. No one wants an abortion. The best way to avoid that unfortunate possibility is to educate our young people using accurate, science-based sex education in our public schools and appropriately funding family planning and affordable birth control using those methods that work best for the individual. When unprotected or forced sexual acts occur or when birth control efforts fail, we should stand by women by offering emergency contraception. Roe v. Wade is the law and, as a legislator, I will support the law. I will also do whatever I can to ensure that Planned Parenthood receive[s] full funding and that its vital contribution to health care as a whole in rural Arizona is recognized. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Eric Shelley for State Senate, LD 28

The Arizona general election will be held on November 6, 2012, with early voting starting today. After the many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of voting in November 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 spotlighting our endorsed candidates in a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” Make your voice heard in 2012!

Eric Shelley, like both of his parents, was born and raised in Arizona. He grew up in Mesa and graduated from Westwood High School, after which he received a degree in psychology from Arizona State University. Since then, Shelley has worked for the same employer — a large health benefits company — for the duration of his career. His current role involves planning budgets and determining the number of new employees the company needs to hire. Shelley says this makes him “a true job creator.”


“Legislators … are not doctors and should not insert themselves into decisions that patients and doctors should make.”


According to his website, after more than 20 years in the private sector, Shelley “understands the challenges faced by employees and employers alike.” Additionally, Shelley’s role as a community activist has brought him into contact with Arizonans who have fallen on hard times. Shelley refers to them as “Arizonans who have worked hard, played by the rules, and yet still find themselves losing their jobs, their homes, their dignity and their security.” People like these have inspired Shelley to want to “work hard to help our neighbors find solutions to these challenges and get our state back on track.”

Eric Shelley is running to represent the newly drawn Legislative District 28, which includes Paradise Valley and parts of Phoenix. He took the time for an interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona on October 7, 2012.

How will your career in the field of health benefits inform your decision-making process when considering health-care-related bills?

My experience in health care goes beyond the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. I grew up around health care professionals. My mother is a nurse practitioner and my sister is a physician’s assistant. I understand that medical issues are complex and highly personal. Public policy makers should take steps to increase access to the entire range of health care services.

In the previous legislative session, there were a lot of bad bills that negatively affected access to birth control (HB2625), funding for family planning (HB2800), abortion (HB2036), and unbiased information about unintended pregnancies in public schools (SB1009) — and your opponent, Adam Driggs, voted in favor of all of them. Do you feel that his views are consistent with the majority of Arizonans?

Sen. Driggs has cast many votes that are completely out of touch with the views of Arizona voters. With his votes on less money and more guns for Arizona schools, votes to cut 47,000 Arizona children from KidsCare, and these crucial votes on reproductive-rights issues, Sen. Driggs has been a rubber stamp for the tea party legislature the voters of Arizona have had to endure the last few years. I will work to make sure the Arizona legislature will focus on the right priorities for Arizona. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Rosanna Gabaldón for State Representative, LD 2

Photo of Rosanna Gabaldón.The Arizona general election will be held on November 6, 2012, with early voting starting on October 11. After the many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of voting in November 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 spotlighting our endorsed candidates in a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” Make your voice heard in 2012!

A resident of Southern Arizona since 1973, Rosanna Gabaldón is knowledgeable about the people and priorities of the region. As a member of the First Things First South Pima Regional Council and a member of the Friends of the Green Valley Library, she has demonstrated her commitment both to families and to information access. Gabaldón is currently seeking to represent Legislative District 2 — an area that runs from South Tucson to Nogales — in the Arizona House of Representatives.


“I want to see legislation that we as a state can be proud of.”


Gabaldón took the time for an interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona on October 5, 2012.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

Because my father served in the U.S. Air Force, I grew up with the rich experience of having lived in many different places. In 1973, when my family and I moved to Southern Arizona from Panama, I fell in love with the desert. I have traveled to many different places, but the desert has my heart.

I believe in community service, and it has been my honor to give my time and talents for local art projects, literacy programs, the community food bank, and in support of early childhood development. My biggest challenge and highest award was in 2009 when I won my election to serve as a council member for the town of Sahuarita. I look forward to serving the citizens of Southern Arizona as their next state representative for LD 2. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Karyn Lathan for State Representative, LD 17

The Arizona general election will be held on November 6, 2012, with early voting starting on October 11. After the many recent legislative challenges to reproductive health care access, both nationally and statewide, the importance of voting in November 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 spotlighting our endorsed candidates in a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” To vote in the general election, you must register to vote by midnight tonight (October 9) — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!

Karyn Lathan, an Arizona native from Chandler, is running in Legislative District 17 for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives, an area that includes Chandler, Sun Lakes, and part of Gilbert. She has had a career in law enforcement and corrections, and ended her 25-year career as the restorative justice coordinator for the Arizona Department of Corrections. Lathan is currently finishing her degree in business administration at the University of Phoenix.


“We have rolled women’s rights back to the 1950s.”


Lathan is the sole pro-women’s health candidate running for the House in Legislative District 17, facing off against Republican opponents Tom Forese and J.D. Mesnard. Because of the views of the other candidates in the LD 17 House election, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona is recommending a “single-shot vote” for Karyn Lathan. Lathan generously took the time for an interview with us on October 5, 2012.

Tell us about your background and how it will serve your constituents.

I spent my career in law enforcement, first in the U.S. Air Force, then in corrections. I was a correctional officer, correctional programs officer, and probation and parole officer. I ended my career in corrections when I returned to Arizona and started the first restorative justice program for the Arizona Department of Corrections. Currently I am a commissioner with the Chandler Domestic Violence Commission and work with several victim services agencies. I am a consultant for Coalition to End Arizona’s Sexual Exploitation (CEASE). My passion lies with women’s issues and anti-violence issues.

My whole career has been about community and how to have a safe, productive community. I will continue to fight for the quality of life that we all deserve and that emphasizes respect and progress. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link — so is a community. Continue reading