5 Minutes for Families
- Courage wins out 9 hours 41 mins ago
- The end is near…What a week 20-Mar-2015
- A Second Chance 13-Mar-2015
- Tough Choices 06-Mar-2015
- Free to believe 27-Feb-2015
- Arizona Churches Need Your Voice! 03-Mar-2015
- It's Time to Vote! 04-Nov-2014
- Mail in your early ballot TODAY! 29-Oct-2014
- It's Time to Vote! 26-Aug-2014
- ACTION ALERT: Mail in your early ballot TODAY! 19-Aug-2014
- Governor Ducey signs legislation to help churches 23-Mar-2015
- Poll Finds Majority Support for Religious Freedom and Voter-Approved Definition of Marriage 26-Feb-2015
- How did they vote? 13-May-2014
- Find the Facts: CAP Reboots The Policy Pages with Interactive Website 29-Jan-2014
- BREAKING NEWS: New AZ Abortion Clinic Regulations Released Today 27-Jan-2014
Indiana this week took a significant step for the cause by becoming the 19th state to pass a Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The effort was led by the Indiana Family Institute, a family policy council with whom Center for Arizona Policy is associated.
Indiana’s new law, much like Arizona’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and SB 1062 which CAP-supported last year, affirms the basic freedom of belief. These simple religious freedom laws, that have been in federal law and states’ laws for decades, ensure the government cannot force someone to violate their religious convictions unless the government meets a strict legal test. The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled this same way when they said the Obama Administration cannot force the Green Family who owns Hobby Lobby to pay for abortion-causing drugs in their insurance plans.
In signing the bill, Indiana Governor Mike Pence made a strong statement on how the First Amendment protects freedom for all:
“Today I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith. The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action.”
I see two keys to Indiana enacting this important law that have ramifications for the entire country. First, Americans are awakening to the growing threats to the freedom of belief. From Kelvin Cochran to Barronelle Stutzman, the stories are mounting of people being punished by the government because of their religious convictions.
Second, Americans are beginning to tune out the outlandish and ridiculous attacks against foundational religious freedom laws.
Just like in Arizona when considering SB 1062, the truly crazy claims about Indiana’s law were in full force. Yet this time, when people tried to say the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts would be used to refuse service, people didn’t buy this absurd hype, and ultimately courage won out.
Indiana is a better state because of this courage. I think we’ll start to see a lot more of it throughout the nation.
The Latest from AZPolicyPages.com
- Now available! Sponsorships to the April 25 CAP Family Dinner with Charles Krauthammer, Governor Doug Ducey, and Barronelle Stutzman.
- A Life and Death Worth Remembering. Kara Tippetts’ story shows how death with dignity is possible without physician-assisted suicide.
- Help is on the way for churches. Governor Ducey signed HB 2128 this week to ensure churches who rent their property are exempt from most property taxes.
- Pro-life progress! SB 1318 protects taxpayers and ensures women are informed about the abortion pill reversal. This bill is now on Governor Ducey’s desk.
HB 2128 guarantees churches that rent their property are exempt from almost all property taxes. The Arizona Constitution is clear that religious associations and institutions are allowed to be exempt from taxation, yet churches that rent their property do not receive this exemption. Thanks to HB 2128, this inequality has now been corrected.
Sponsored by Representative Darin Mitchell (LD 13), HB 2128 gained bipartisan support when it passed through the legislature. The bill also gained support from Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen.
As committee testimony revealed, churches from throughout the state will benefit from this important legislation. Pastors from The Crossroads Church in Anthem and Palm Valley Church in Goodyear testified how this bill will help them better serve their communities.
Center for Arizona Policy thanks Gov. Ducey for his signature, recognizing the importance of this legislation to the faith-based community.
CAP also thanks the bipartisan majorities in the State House and State Senate who voted for the legislation. You can access the votes on this bill below.
Now that the legislature has passed a budget, it is a mad dash to “sine die” – adjourn and end the legislative session.
This is the crucial time in session when it’s very easy for a bill to die. Here’s the big picture of this week.
CAP-supported SB 1318 is under constant attack right now from Planned Parenthood, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
This bill does three things:
- Ensures health care plans offered on Arizona’s Federally-Run Affordable Care Act Health Care Exchange do not provide insurance coverage for elective abortions.
- Requires abortion clinics to verify with the Department of Health Services that doctors performing abortions have the necessary admitting privileges as required by Arizona law.
- Informs women seeking abortion that it may be possible to reverse the effects of a medication abortion after taking the first pill of the 2-pill regimen.
SB 1318 is scheduled to be debated and voted on by the Arizona House on Monday. If you haven’t responded yet, please take time today to reply to our Action Alert! It is crucial that your representatives hear from you.
There has been much written about this bill – unfortunately, not all of it has been true. A former Planned Parenthood board member wrote a misleading op-ed in the Arizona Republic, which was refuted in today’s paper by OB/GYN’s Dr. Allan Sawyer and Dr. Clint Leonard.
The Republic also ran a factually inaccurate “Fact Check” about the bill, which state Senator Nancy Barto responded to in order to set the record straight.
Our opponents are pulling out all the stops against this bill – that’s why we need your help.
If you want to see why your emails and calls matter, look no further than HB 2128.
This bill ensures that churches that rent their property do not have to pay property tax – just like those churches that own their property.
It passed out of the Senate on Wednesday with a bipartisan vote: 18-11. It now is on Governor Ducey’s desk, awaiting his action.
The passage of HB 2128 only happened because pastors and people like you contacted their legislators and came down to the Capitol in support of the bill. Now is the time to pray for HB 2128 and for the churches throughout the state that would benefit from this bill.
We continue to see the harmful effects of redefining marriage. From Barronelle Stutzman, to Kelvin Cochran, and now, to Arizona judges and justices of the peace.
A recently issued “Judicial Ethics Advisory Opinion” states that a judge or justice of the peace who performs a wedding for a man and woman “manifests bias and prejudice” and violates the judicial ethical rules if they decline to also solemnize marriages for two men or two women. Stop and think about that for a minute – today, in our culture, a judge who believes marriage should be only between a man and a woman will be deemed to have shown bias and prejudice – really strong terms to apply to someone simply following their religious beliefs or conscience outside of their courtroom duties.
Essentially, the opinion means judges or justices of the peace who choose to perform weddings must perform same-sex weddings. It’s not an acceptable choice to force a judge to make – either do no weddings or do all weddings.
The Arizona Republic published a misguided editorial about the ruling that has muddied the waters on this issue.
There is no doubt that a judge should treat everyone that walks into their courtroom equally and fairly. Yet this is wholly different than saying if you do not participate in a celebration that is outside of your required duties as a judge, you are “manifesting bias” and breaking the judicial code of conduct.
As an attorney, I strongly disagree with the conclusions reached by this opinion. I can assure you we are looking at all of our options regarding appropriate responses. Yesterday they came for the photographer, then the cake baker, then the fire chief, now the judges. Who will be next?
The Latest from AZPolicyPages.com
- Dr. Charles Krauthammer, Gov. Doug Ducey, and Barronelle Stutzman are all speaking at the April 25 CAP Family Dinner! Sponsorships will be made available soon.
- Left Behind In America – Dr. Russell Moore on the Gospel Coalition.
We’ve all made decisions we’ve later regretted – some more serious than others.
Sadly, some of the most devastating stories of regret come from women who have an abortion and later wish they had chosen life.
This was the case of an Arizona woman who visited Dr. Allan Sawyer last month. Dr. Sawyer is a board certified OB-GYN and one of the nation’s leading pro-life doctors.
Thanks to Dr. Sawyer, this woman’s story has not ended in tragedy. Read the story below from Dr. Sawyer’s testimony before a legislative committee on Wednesday in support of a new amendment to CAP-supported SB 1318:
Madam Chair, members of the committee: Good morning! My name is Dr. Allan Sawyer. I have been an obstetrician/gynecologist physician in Arizona since 1989, having trained at Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, and I have been in private practice in Glendale since 1992.
Most recently I am the immediate past president of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and currently am the chairman of the Ethics Committee at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center where I also have served on the Medical Executive Committee for the past decade.
Over my career I have delivered over 10,000 babies on three different continents and have cared for over 16,000 women in Arizona.
This morning I would like to take this opportunity to support the proposed amendment to SB 1318, which ensures abortion providers inform women that if a woman changes her mind, it may be possible to reverse a medication abortion after the first pill is taken but that time is of the essence.
I have spoken to hundreds of my patients about their past elective abortions, some of which have occurred within hours, and some of which occurred decades ago. The common thread between these women is the regret that they harbor in having chosen abortion.
The abortion pill RU-486 (mifepristone) is a potent antagonist of progesterone and cortisol. The antiprogestational effects of RU-486 (mifepristone) will result in fetal death, as progesterone is essential for fetal growth and survival. Natural micronized progesterone supplementation, either by intramuscular injections or by oral administration, can be used to overcome the antiprogestational properties of RU-486 (mifepristone).
Just last month a young woman walked into the Glendale Planned Parenthood office, 10 weeks pregnant grieving over the recent loss of her father. Thinking that this, her first pregnancy was conceived at an unfortunate time, she was given RU-486, to cause a medication abortion.
Within hours she regretted her decision, and the next morning she went back to the Planned Parenthood office on Eugie and begged them to reverse the effect of the pill.
She was told by the Planned Parenthood staff that she had to complete the process or else she would have complications and get an infection.
While still standing in the clinic waiting room, she Googled abortion pill reversal on her cell phone, where she connected to a national call center that pairs women in the midst of a medication abortion with physicians who are willing to help save the lives of their unborn babies. Within 45 minutes she was in my office where I showed her on ultrasound her 10 week fetus with a heartbeat and moving inside of her womb.
I started her on a protocol of high dose progesterone to undo the lethal effects of the antiprogesterone medication RU-486 (mifepristone). Because she had used all of her available money to pay for her abortion at Planned Parenthood and she didn’t have enough money to pay for the progesterone, I personally paid for her medication at a local pharmacy. She is now past her first trimester, and her baby is now out of danger and doing well, and has a due date in September.
Natural micronized progesterone supplementation has been used for years in obstetrics, gynecology, and infertility care. The safety of progesterone supplementation during pregnancy has been well established, and this is used routinely for high risk pregnancies such as those conceived through in vitro fertilization and also for pregnancies at risk of preterm labor.
Administration of supplemental progesterone to women who have taken RU-486 (mifepristone) can overcome the antiprogestational effects of the RU-486 (mifepristone), support the early pregnancy, and effectively stop the medical abortion from occurring.
Madam Chair and members of the committee, as a board certified obstetrician/gynecologist licensed in the State of Arizona for over a quarter of a century, I testify to you today that abortion is not healthcare.
I also opine that women who have initiated a medication abortion process and who change their minds, for whatever reason, should not have their baby stolen from them because Planned Parenthood, or any abortionist, withheld life-saving facts or provided misinformation to these women.
If it wasn’t for Dr. Sawyer and the abortion pill reversal, this woman would have lost her child due to Planned Parenthood’s staff telling her there was no hope for her child.
This is a story that needs to be told. Not only because Planned Parenthood misled the young woman, but because she ever thought Planned Parenthood was a trustworthy organization. This is a story that saves lives.
Help us spread the word and expose Planned Parenthood by sharing Dr. Sawyer’s testimony today on Facebook. Many – even in the pro-life community – do not know that the abortion pill may be reversible.
It’s budget week at the state Capitol after Governor Ducey and legislative leadership came to an agreement over how to address the state’s billion-dollar deficit.
Budget week is filled with long days and late nights for legislators. It takes more work than most people realize to fulfill the Arizona Constitutional mandate to provide a balanced budget every year, and this should serve as a reminder to us all to keep our elected officials in our prayers.
Center for Arizona Policy doesn’t get involved with the budget unless a budget issue arises on one of our core issues – and this year is no exception.
Yet as I’ve watched the recent news coverage and listened to last night’s committee hearings on the budget bills, I must share with you that not all the facts are being presented. Like how the budget is actually spending more on child safety, or that in total, ASU is only receiving a 2.5% reduction, and U of A is receiving a 1.8% reduction. Like how the budget increases funding for public schools. Like how the money simply isn’t there to provide more money for government-funded programs.
I fully realize that there is much more to this budget, but my encouragement to you is to be patient with our leaders and don’t buy some of the negative hype surrounding this budget as the state works through a very difficult process that is guaranteed to be painful. Dealing with a billion-dollar deficit always is.
What I can assure you is that there is another budget proposal floating around the Capitol that Center for Arizona Policy would unequivocally oppose.
Legislative Democrats once again proposed a budget that would completely eliminate the Scholarship Tax Credit program. The proposal promotes the false assumption that this program takes money out of the general fund and away from public schools in order to fund private schools. Hence, opponents of school choice allege that cutting this program would provide more dollars to fund public schools.
This could not be further from the truth.
Eliminating the Scholarship Tax Credit would not only force thousands of children out of the schools they currently attend, but it would COST the state money. The average scholarship awarded to a child to attend the private school chosen by their parents still falls several thousand dollars below what the state pays to educate a child in the public schools. It doesn’t take a mathematician to understand that an average scholarship of approximately $2,000 is less than the cost to educate that child in the public schools.
Let me emphasize our school choice philosophy: how a parent chooses to educate their child is between the parent and God whether that choice is public, charter, online, private, or homeschool. We don’t make a value statement at CAP as to how a parent should educate their children. But we will defend and promote parents’ options to have the full range of school choices, including seeking scholarships through the tax credit and empowerment scholarship account programs. Arizona is known for its school choice opportunities throughout the nation.
Once again, we see the importance of elections. Last November, Arizonans made their voices heard by electing statewide leadership and legislative majorities who support school choice and oppose raising taxes on hard-working Arizona families.
There is still much work to be done at the legislature – both to pass a budget and to address serious needs facing the state (such as ensuring taxpayer dollars don’t subsidize the abortion industry). You can track the progress of CAP-supported bills on our Bill Tracker, or watch live legislative debate at azleg.gov.
A CAP-supported bill to help churches could be voted on by the Arizona Senate very soon – and your senator urgently needs to hear from you!
Churches give back to their communities in countless ways, that’s why they have always been exempt from property tax.
Yet churches that rent their property in Arizona do not get this same benefit – this is a tremendous inequality that can result in smaller churches not receiving the same benefit as other churches that can afford to own their facility.
HB 2128 fixes this inequity by exempting churches that rent their property from paying most property taxes.
This simple bill is a common sense fix with broad support – for example, Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen supports this measure. Yet there are a handful or organizations working to undermine this bill. That’s why it’s critical that you contact your elected officials today!
Here are some basic facts about HB 2128:
- This simple bill ensures all churches are treated equally – whether they rent their church or own their property. Churches that rent would be receiving this benefit if they could afford to own their property. This bill simply ensures these churches are not penalized because they don’t have a big enough budget.
- HB 2128 ensures the tax break is passed onto the church. HB 2128 has protections in it to ensure that property owners are passing the tax break onto the church that rents their property.
- Any impact HB 2128 will have on the state budget will be negligible. Yet, it will greatly help churches that are serving our communities. And remember, these churches would be completely exempt from property taxes if they could afford to buy their property.
- Read more about HB 2128 on CAP’s Fact Sheet.
- Contact your State Senator. This bill could be heard on the Arizona Senate Floor very soon. Don’t delay – click to send them a note today!
- Forward this email to a friend. We are getting reports that opponents of this bill have already begun contacting legislators and their county assessors. They must hear from supporters to pass HB 2128!
- Pray! Pray that this important bill becomes law.
I’m sure Barronelle Stutzman could not ever have imagined she would be on Fox News’ Kelly File. Nor could she have imagined she could face losing her house and business after referring her long time friend and customer to another florist because she didn’t want to arrange flowers for his same-sex wedding.
Yet here she is, in the center of a highly contentious fight. And her commitment to God and to the cause of freedom is unwavering.
See for yourself: click to watch the video below:
Barronelle’s story is beginning to strike a chord with the public. No matter what you believe about the definition of marriage, you shouldn’t lose your job or your home for not wanting to participate in a same-sex wedding.
This was overwhelmingly clear in the poll Family Research Council and CAP released this week.
Not only did the poll find that 53% of Americans still believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, it found that 81% believe that people should be free to follow their beliefs about marriage in the way they live their lives or run their business.
Apparently, even some in the LGBT community find the Washington State Attorney General’s and the American Civil Liberties Union’s lawsuits against Barronelle offensive. Here are just some of the comments from the article:
The question of religious freedom is simple. What should merely be matters of disagreement have turned into government coercion. Instead of respecting differences of opinion, the government is now being used to stifle differing beliefs.
53% agree that “marriage should be defined only as the union of one man and one woman”
A new poll finds that more than 53% of Americans agree with Arizona’s voter-approved definition of marriage as only the union of one man and one woman. The poll also found that more than 8 in 10 Americans believe people who hold to this voter-approved definition of marriage should be free to follow these beliefs in their daily lives or in the way they run a business.
The poll comes as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments over whether voters have the freedom to set marriage law in their state.
WPA Opinion Research, who conducted the poll of 800 registered voters, also surveyed whether the Supreme Court should uphold the right of voters to define marriage. The poll found that 61% agree that “states and citizens should remain free to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and the Supreme Court shouldn’t force all 50 states to redefine marriage.”
“It’s clear that marriage matters to voters. Furthermore, the freedom of belief and the freedom to vote for a cause are of the utmost importance,“ said Cathi Herrod, President of Center for Arizona Policy. “The Supreme Court should not silence the will of the voters. What’s more, the government should not penalize people for believing that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Family Research Council and Center for Arizona Policy commissioned the survey. Along with the upcoming Supreme Court Decision on the definition of marriage, there have been a number of incidents of people of faith being fired or sued by the government for holding to their beliefs.
In Atlanta, the city’s Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was fired for writing a devotional for his church on his personal time. The devotional professed a biblical view of sexuality. Despite an unparalleled record of achievement as the city’s fire chief, Atlanta’s mayor fired Cochran for his beliefs about marriage. Cochran is currently suing the city for discrimination.
In Washington state, florist Barronelle Stutzman has been sued by the Washington Attorney General and American Civil Liberties Union for declining to make a floral arrangement for a same-sex wedding. Stutzman had served members of the LGBT community for years, but believed she would be violating her religious convictions to make floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding, so she referred the gay couple to another florist in town.
“What should be simple matters of disagreement has turned into government coercion. Instead of respecting differences of opinion, the government is now being used to stifle differing beliefs,” said Herrod.
The poll was conducted February 2-4 and has a margin of error of +/-3.5%. You can access thebreakdown of the poll here.
Center for Arizona Policy promotes and defends the foundational values of life, marriage and family, and religious freedom. For more information, visit azpolicy.org.
In speech after speech, I hear legislators talk about the number of emails they received from constituents about proposed legislation. I cannot emphasize enough how critically important it is that you make your voice heard and engage in the public policy process. To be very candid with you, it’s not enough to say – oh CAP is out there representing me. No, we need your voice backing up our work at the Capitol.
A key way to make your voice heard is to respond to our Action Alerts. Thank you to everyone who responded to our Action Alerts asking you to contact your legislators to support SB 1318, which protects your tax dollars from paying for abortions, and HB 2128, which ensures churches that rent their property don’t pay property taxes, just like churches that own their property. Responding to CAP’s Action Alert emails and communicating with your legislators is an important way to make your values and your voice heard.
Yesterday, SB 1318 passed the Senate by a vote of 17-12! The bill will now move to the House.
HB 2128 passed the House last week by a vote of 33-25, and will be heard next week in the Senate Finance Committee.
Watch for more Action Alerts from CAP as these bills move forward, and be sure to contact your legislators right away when you hear from us.
Four key ways you can get involved:
1. Register to vote
Visit azvoterguide.com to register to vote online.
2. Contact your legislators
At azpolicy.org, use CAP's Take Action Center to find your legislators, and send them a note. A state senator this week shared how much it meant to simply have a constituent email her with a prayer for her. Others share how much a simple thank you means to them. To communicate effectively with your legislators, make sure your note is brief and to the point. And remember to be polite and grateful – our legislators are serving our state and working hard for their constituents.
3. Vote on legislation at azvoices.gov
The state built this website to allow voters to make their voice heard on specific legislation.
The single most important action you can do for our state is pray for our leaders. Ask that the Lord blesses, protects, and guides our elected officials to do what's best for our state.
The voice of the pro-family movement was heard loud and clear this week as more than 400 Center for Arizona Policy supporters rallied at the legislature for our Day at the Capitol.
In the morning, we welcomed Alliance Defending Freedom’s Senior Legal Counsel Jim Campbell who shared an update on the legal fight to protect the right of voters to define marriage as only the union of one man and one woman. As KTAR’s Bob McClay reported, Jim said our work to build a culture that respects marriage begins now:
"We can begin by ourselves being better spouses, better mothers, better fathers and better children. We should encourage our friends and neighbors who are experiencing difficulties in their marriages to stay the course, especially when kids are involved.”
Later in the morning, Governor Doug Ducey addressed the crowd. Once again the Governor reaffirmed his support of foundational principles, saying he is “proudly pro-life” and he “looks forward to working with us on those issues.”
Governor Ducey also challenged the faith-based community to continue to work to solve the foster care and adoption crisis.
We’ve seen the faith-based community step up in incredible ways these last few years to meet the needs of children needing a safe place to sleep at night. Christian Family Care Agency, AZ 127 and area pastors have led the effort. Through 5 Minutes for Families and my work with the prior administration, we have publicized the need. But as I said in response to Gov. Ducey at the Day at the Capitol, we can do better and we have to do better. Much work remains to be done. Learn more about the need for foster care parents and how you can help by visiting Christian Family Care Agency and AZ 127.
Following the Governor’s remarks, all those in attendance got a tour of the state Capitol, going through the state Senate and House.
After the tours, and a lunch of Joe’s BBQ, the crowd heard from legislative leaders. The speakers included, Senate President Andy Biggs, Senate Majority Leader Steve Yarbrough, House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro, Senator Nancy Barto, Senator Kimberly Yee, Representative Justin Olson, Representative Tony Rivero, and Representative Jill Norgaard.
Once lunch and the speeches concluded, we packed the House and Senate galleries for the opening of the floor sessions and were introduced to the members.
The day was truly unforgettable. One of the top highlights came at the very end, when CAP-supportedSB 1318 was heard in the Senate Health Committee. This pro-life bill protects taxpayers from subsidizing abortions by prohibiting abortion coverage on the Arizona’s federal healthcare exchange.
The committee hearing room was filled to capacity with pro-life supporters when I testified in support of the legislation. Despite Planned Parenthood’s misguided – and even false – attacks against the bill, it passed by a 4-3 vote.
What an amazing day! Thank you to all those who came out. If you’d like to see more pictures, visit our Facebook page. While you’re there, be sure to like us!
And remember, whether you were able to make it to the Day at the Capitol or not, our work to promote and defend life, marriage and family, and religious freedom isn’t accomplished in just one day. It’s an ongoing effort.