Thursday, July 2, 2009

CAP: Victories at Arizona Capitol!

Six CAP-supported bills passed the last hurdle in the Arizona Legislature this week. All six should reach Gov. Brewer's desk early next week where we are very hopeful she will sign them into law. These bills, if passed into law, collectively accomplish the following:
  • Provide women considering an abortion access to accurate information about the risks and alternatives to the procedure and at least 24 hours to consider her decision.
  • Protect the rights of parents whose minor daughters seek an abortion.
  • Guarantee that students in the public schools cannot be denied their religious freedom.
  • Protect patients who are unable to communicate their wishes.
  • Continue the scholarship tax credit beyond its current expiration date of 2011.
  • Prohibit the gruesome partial-birth abortion procedure.
  • Simplify the charitable tax credit for donations to charities that are helping low-income Arizonans.

Visit our Legislative Agenda page for the status of each bill and a brief explanation, and keep up to date on all the action on our blog.

Non-Doctors Performing Abortions

Last week, CAP Legal Counsel Deborah Sheasby attended a Department of Health Services hearing on proposed regulations for abortion clinics. The testimony presented from the abortion industry revealed a critical need to try to get a new law passed clarifying that an individual who is not a physician may not perform a surgical abortion. Today, the House Health Committee voted 5-3 in favor of this bill, SB 1175. Following Deborah's testimony, Planned Parenthood offered testimony that the bill's passage would decrease the number of communities with abortion "services" from 10 to 3. That must mean that only a nurse practitioner is performing abortions in seven communities across the state. Forty-one other states clearly require that only a licensed physician may perform a surgical abortion. The issue here is women's health and safety. To see why this matters, read the two letters posted on our blog fromdoctors in support of SB 1175.
Remaining Issues
At press time, CAP is still working to stop legislation that would eliminate the 300-foot buffer zone that currently protects schools and churches from alcohol-related uses. Under the proposed legislation, liquor stores and bars could be within 100 feet of churches and schools, rather than the current 300-foot buffer zone. CAP Legal Counsel Deborah Sheasby testified on the bill Wednesday. You can watch Deborah's testimony online. Also this week, the Arizona Senate unanimously passed the CAP supported bill on child prostitution, 28-0. SB 1423 would increase penalties and enable prosecution for those engaging in child prostitution with 15-17 year old girls. Unfortunately, House Judiciary Chair Rep. Adam Driggs declined to hold a hearing on the bill this week. This inaction potentially blocks passage of the child prostitution bill this session. To understand the need for SB 1423, watch Peggy Bilsten's Senate testimony on the bill.

Catch Up with CAP in the White Mountains!
Join us in the cool pines for a CAP Family Issue Briefing at 7:30 p.m. at the Blue Ridge High School in Lakeside. I am excited to be your host for the briefing as I share the latest on family policy issues and the happenings at the state Capitol. There is no cost to attend and families are welcome. Then, on Saturday, come to the Truth Project Training. The training will equip you to lead this innovative small group study, imparting a biblical worldview into the lives of others! Registration is required for the training and there is a fee. There are more details and registration online. On Sunday, my husband and I are privileged to be sharing at two area churches. We'd love to have you join us at one of these events ... and it will be a great weekend to escape the heat!

A Judge Speaks on Abortion
On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld Virginia's ban on partial-birth abortion. Circuit Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson wrote, "The fact is that we - civilized people - are retreating to the haven of our Constitution to justify dismembering a partly born child and crushing its skull. Surely centuries hence, people will look back on this gruesome practice done in the name of fundamental law by a society of high achievement. And they will shudder." Amen!

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