Ethan Orr’s Record Reveals Extreme Views Behind Moderate Branding

In the 9th legislative district, we endorse both Randall Friese and Victoria Steele ... not Ethan Orr!

In the 9th legislative district, we endorse both Randall Friese and Victoria Steele … not Ethan Orr!

Ethan Orr brands himself on his campaign website as a leader who “has worked across party lines” and will “bring people together to create community solutions.” It’s easy to see why his branding has gained currency — but with a little digging into his record, it’s just as easy to see how hollow it is.

The representative for Legislative District 9, who is running for re-election this November, seemed to be walking his talk back in February when he stopped in with state Sen. Steve Farley at Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria in Tucson. Reacting to SB 1062, a bill that would have allowed businesses the right to refuse service to customers because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, Rocco’s put up a sign in defiance of the bill’s bigotry: “We reserve the right to refuse service to Arizona lawmakers.” The gesture of protest was soon in the news and spreading through social media, receiving accolades from people who thought it was the perfect response to a terrible bill. Orr and Farley decided to pay the pizzeria a visit, Orr carrying a print-out of the Senate vote that showed his opposition to the bill.


A little digging into Ethan Orr’s record reveals a legislator who doesn’t stand for LGBTQ rights or reproductive justice.


Unfortunately, there’s more to Orr’s record on LGBTQ issues than this story. Orr was absent from the list of sponsors when LD 9′s other representative, Victoria Steele, introduced SB 1443, another bill that addressed discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity — but this time prohibiting, rather than allowing, discrimination. The same goes for SCR 1012, a bill Steele and other legislators introduced to recognize same-sex marriage. Orr stood up to a bill that would have allowed more wrongs, but his inaction on SB 1443 and SCR 1012 leaves voters to wonder if that’s the limit of his concerns.

Orr is also credited for voting in favor of Gov. Brewer’s Medicaid expansion. But given Brewer’s threat to veto all other legislation until other Republicans fell in line with her — and her promises to help those who did fall in line through the support of her Arizona’s Legacy PAC — Orr’s positions when there are no unusual incentives at stake might be more telling. And his positions look dismal when it comes to women’s health. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Kelli Butler for State Senate, LD 28

The Arizona general election will be held on November 4, 2014. Reproductive health care access has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive justice. To acquaint you with our endorsed candidates, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” In order to vote in the general election, you must register to vote by October 6 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2014!

Kelli Butler 2014Kelli Butler is an Arizona native with professional experience in the health care field and a background in community involvement in education. When her district’s current state senator, Adam Driggs, voted in favor of this year’s discriminatory SB 1062, she made the decision to run for his seat in the Senate so that her fellow LD 28 constituents could be represented by someone who would advocate for the rights and dignity of all Arizonans.

The three main components of her platform are investing in public education, creating quality jobs, and protecting children and families. To support these goals, Ms. Butler is in favor of including comprehensive sex education in schools to empower students with the information they need to avoid sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies — the latter of which will help reduce dropout rates among teenage girls. Additionally, increasing access to family planning services can help women make decisions that are best for themselves and their families.

The 28th legislative district is currently represented in the state Senate by Adam Driggs, whose record on reproductive health and rights is dismal. He has consistently voted against Planned Parenthood’s mission, supporting bills that would have reduced access to birth control and preventive services at Planned Parenthood Arizona. He has also voted for HB 2036, the infamous bill that restricts abortion to 20 weeks and defines pregnancy as starting two weeks before conception. Additionally, Driggs has signed the Center for Arizona Policy’s statement denouncing Roe v. Wade.

Kelli Butler is running to represent Legislative District 28, which includes Paradise Valley and parts of Phoenix. She took the time for an interview with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona on September 23, 2014.


“We must empower people with knowledge and choices so they are able to make the most responsible decisions for themselves.”


Tell us a little about your background.

I’m a proud Arizona native, having grown up within the boundaries of District 28. I attended University of Arizona and majored in elementary education. I’ve been married for 25 years to my husband, Ben Butler, who is a general dentist in Glendale, Arizona. I help manage his dental practice and run our small business. I am familiar with the challenges of small business ownership and with the regulatory and insurance environments of the health care industry. I am a longtime advocate for public schools, having raised my two boys in Phoenix’s Madison School District. I was very involved in their schools and on district-level committees.

Earlier this year, the state legislature passed HB 2284, which permits the health department to inspect abortion clinics without a warrant. What do you think about this new law?

HB 2284 opens the door to harassment of women and their health care providers. This measure is simply another attempt by far-right groups like the Center for Arizona Policy to restrict women’s access to safe, responsible choices and health services. Abortion clinics are already highly regulated. HB 2284 was motivated by political ideology; it is part of a concerted effort to throw more roadblocks in the way of women seeking access to reproductive medical services. Continue reading

Tipping the Balance: Why Primary Elections Matter

Arizona state Senate“We will remember in November,” say activists vowing to effect change at the polls. General elections, held in November, are contests between the candidates nominated by their political parties and decided by voters. They are phenomenally important, as their outcomes determine who our presidents, senators, representatives, and other legislators will be.


Not all Democratic candidates support reproductive rights, so check our list of endorsed candidates before voting a Democratic ballot!


What rhymes with August? “You’ll eat sawdust in August”? “We want laws just in August”? I’ll work on that, but for now you should know that the primary elections will be held in Arizona on August 26, and many important races will be decided in August rather than November. How is that possible? Sometimes, only one political party has candidates running for an office, meaning that whoever wins their party’s nomination in the primary election won’t face opposition in November.

In three such races, all featuring Democrats running for the state Senate, reproductive rights are at stake. So, in case you were wondering why voting in the primary elections is so important, read on to learn about these crucial races! And tell your friends in these Phoenix-area legislative districts that the decisions they make at the polls have the potential to bring balance to our state legislature in terms of reproductive health care access. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • bathroomHobby Lobby continues to be terrible — this time they’re discriminating against a transgender employee who simply wants to use the restroom that corresponds with her gender identity. (Slate)
  • President Obama is decidedly not down with discrimination and is signing an executive order to protect LGBTQ workers — and there will be no religious exemptions for those who think their god gives them a right to discriminate. (NYT)
  • Bill Moyers had Planned Parenthood’s fearless leader, Cecile Richards, on his show for an enlightening discussion about the right wing’s crusade against reproductive rights. Definitely worth a watch! (Bill Moyers)
  • Only in modern-day America would a nurse, who is anti-contraception and refuses to dispense contraceptives, sue over not being hired to do a job in which dispensing contraception is an integral part. (Wonkette)
  • A group of protesters (anti-abortion, of course) interrupted a church service to demand that the worshippers there “repent” for supporting reproductive rights. So yeah, now churches aren’t even safe from these clowns. Ironic coming from people who claim to “serve God,” dontcha think? (Think Progress)
  • More states are recognizing that new mothers on Medicaid who wish to prevent pregnancy aren’t being served well under current rules — and they’re finding new ways to help them. (NPR)
  • Do women perceive other women differently when they’re taking the birth control pill? (Salon)

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

Arizona has had quite an eventful few weeks, y’all. Here’s what’s been happening on the home front …

  • As you’ve probably heard, anti-gay SB1062, vetoed by Gov. Brewer last week, was hugely unpopular to begin with — even among Arizona Republicans. (AZ Capitol Times)
  • Right-wing machine Center for Arizona Policy, which has a storied history of being anti-choice and all-around terrible, wants to implement a modern-day gestapo to make unannounced inspections at the clinic of any abortion provider in the state. Just what you don’t need when you’re lying back with your legs in the stirrups while getting a Pap test at Planned Parenthood. ’Cause, ya know, we do way more of those than abortions. (AZ Central)
  • After two-and-a-half years, Planned Parenthood will again offer medication abortions in Flagstaff. (KNAU)
  • Aaaand medication abortions are in serious danger here as well. Can you guess who’s behind that? It rhymes with “Schmenter for Parizona Folicy.” (WaPo, Fronteras)
  • State Sen. Steve Gallardo, in the wake of the governor’s veto and inspired by the heated dialogue surrounding SB 1062, took the opportunity to come out of the closet. (Advocate)
  • Arizona’s attempts to strip Planned Parenthood of its Medicaid funding continue to be futile. (RH Reality Check)

In the rest of the world …

  • As a black woman, it’s nice to hear about lesser-known black women who’ve championed for reproductive rights throughout history. (Salon)
  • The FDA is increasing access to generic morning-after pills! (NPR)
  • Pro-choice advocates have been playing defense for three long years and it’s time for a change, dammit. (Bloomberg)
  • Abortion clinic protesters continue to be awful in their treatment of women. (Cosmopolitan)
  • Pregnancy and motherhood are physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting endeavors. Sometimes it takes experiencing those things to understand how important it is to be pro-choice. (Feministe)
  • The concept of vegan condoms may strike you as strange, but so will the fact that they were created by a father and his daughter. (ABC News)
  • Birthing center and abortion clinic in one building! Pro-choice is pro-life, folks! (Jezebel)

Meet Our Candidates: Dr. Richard Carmona for U.S. Senator

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 Action Fund 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 October 9 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!

When announcing Dr. Richard Carmona’s endorsement by Planned Parenthood Action Fund, President Cecile Richards said that “Arizona women need a champion who has long fought to protect and promote women’s health representing them in Washington” — and as a former U.S. surgeon general, Carmona is uniquely positioned to advocate for scientifically driven, rather than agenda-driven, policies on health and medicine.


“Health care should not be politicized.”


Carmona already has experience fighting for evidence-based health policy in an increasingly polarized political climate. After leaving his position as surgeon general, Carmona testified before Congress that the George W. Bush administration continually hampered his attempts to present scientifically sound public health policy when it conflicted with their political agenda. As Carmona said in his testimony, the Bush administration silenced him on many issues, including emergency contraception and comprehensive sex education — and the public was denied access to the latest unbiased evidence on important public health issues.

Carmona is running against Republican challenger Jeff Flake to succeed Jon Kyl as U.S. senator from Arizona. Flake’s congressional voting record is problematic, and includes support for an amendment to the Affordable Care Act to prohibit abortion coverage, support for defunding Planned Parenthood, and a vote against expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

As a U.S. senator, Carmona can bring his lifetime of experience as a physician and public-health expert to the legislature. When it comes to our medical care, no matter our political affiliations, we all need access to the best scientific evidence, and we need someone who will be a champion for our health in the U.S. Senate.

Dr. Carmona generously took time for an interview with us via telephone on October 3, 2012.


Many of us, including myself, are becoming increasingly concerned about the hostility toward science exhibited by some of our current lawmakers. What can you do to inject reason and scientific evidence into an increasingly politicized discourse about public health?

Well, first and foremost, if you remember my tenure as surgeon general, I had to do that. There was a lot of ideological, nonscientific-driven sentiment, and when necessary I stood up and I addressed the issues appropriately. It wasn’t a perfect world, especially when you have many of those ideologues thinking differently, but nevertheless, I will do the same thing as a senator.

And I think I enter the Senate with, if you will, the imprimatur of being a surgeon general and a trauma surgeon and a registered nurse and a paramedic. I bring all those years of cumulative science to the table as I discuss things with my colleagues. And although they may be ideologically driven, and I will certainly acknowledge their personal beliefs, that’s not science and it’s not fact. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: David Bradley for State Senator, LD 10

David Bradley, Candidate for Arizona Senate, LD 10The 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 October 9 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2012!

David Bradley is a candidate for the Arizona State Senate. He seeks to represent Legislative District 10, which includes portions of central and eastern Tucson. While the legislative district numbers may have recently changed, Bradley has already dedicated several years of legislative service to those who live in the Tucson area. He was generous enough to take the time for an interview with PPAA on September 1, 2012.


“Comprehensive sex education is a must and should begin in the early elementary years.”


Tell us a little about your background.

Briefly, I am a 55-year resident of Arizona with 36 years as a Tucsonan, married with four children and six grandchildren. After I was discharged from the Navy, I began my career in behavioral health and child welfare. Most recently I was the CEO of La Paloma Family Services, Inc. for nearly 20 years and am currently working for La Frontera Arizona as its chief development officer. I served in the State House of Representatives for eight years from 2003 to 2011.

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?

I would like to see legislation that improves access to health care, particularly expanding Medicaid to cover individuals and families up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.** I would also like to see preventive health care, including behavioral health care services, better funded. I support funding for family planning and for science-based sex education in schools from the primary level through high school. It is important to fight for these policies because they all directly affect the quality of life for all Arizonans. Continue reading