Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer and the start of the political campaign season.
Before we enter the home stretch of this political campaign cycle, it’s important to consider where we are and how we got here. We face a critical election in a matter of weeks with two historic victories on our side that many thought would never happen.
I wondered if I would ever see the day Roe fell. But on June 24th the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and declared that there was never a right to abortion in the U.S. Constitution. The impenetrable barricade to banning abortion was gone; states were back in control of abortion law.
That same day, state lawmakers passed universal educational freedom, extending Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) to all Arizona families. A stunning victory.
But success did not come quickly or easily. We weathered decades of court battles, legislative efforts, some defeats, and incremental victories thanks to the tenacity of dedicated lawmakers and advocates who refused to give up. We are here because of those who toiled for years to make it happen.
Perseverance precedes victory. I think of Winston Churchill’s famous encouraging quote to never give up. He said, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never. In nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
CAP will not yield, nor give in – even in victory. We know it can be short-lived if not ardently protected.
To that end, we strategically work with allies on preserving the pre-Roe law banning abortion in Arizona except to save the life of the mother. A judge will decide later this month whether to fully enable that law from 1973 to take effect. Although the Left portrays it as something dug up from the 1800s, the pre-Roe law was very much in effect just 49 years ago in 1973 when Roe was decided.
We are currently working to fight activists calling for abortion up until the moment of the child’s birth. They are determined to take over our state this election year to codify Roe and legalize abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.
Simultaneously, we all must be prepared to hold onto universal school choice because the so-called Save Our Schools group is circulating petitions to deny parents the right to have an ESA for their child to attend the school of their choice.
If they approach you, simply decline to sign. And know we are working with our coalition partners to spread the message as we stand ready to defend the ESA law in court.
We are duty-bound to safeguard that which was made possible by so many advocates that have gone before us and fought the battles that set the path for victory.
This work is not for the faint of heart. I am thankful for the strong pro-life and pro-school choice coalitions made up of people who see the necessity of building on foundational principles.
Today, I want to acknowledge those who laid the groundwork for these victories over the last almost 50 years and offer my gratitude for their tireless work.
At the risk of failing to mention someone, I do want to personally thank those who were leaders when I became involved, those whom I learned from and I consider close allies.
The Pro-Life Movement
Thank you, Dr. Carolyn Gerster and John Jakubczyk for founding the pro-life movement in Arizona. Carolyn, no longer with us, spoke out strongly in defense of the humanity of the unborn child. John is an attorney and still active and speaking out as a strong advocate for life. Both should be recognized as founders of the pro-life movement in Arizona.
Thank you, Dave and JoAnn Everitt for starting Crisis Pregnancy Center, now known as Choices. Countless women have been spared the consequences of abortion and their babies saved through the Everitts’ vision and ministry.
Thank you, recently retired Bishop Olmsted of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. His unwavering pastoral concern and leadership for unborn babies and their mothers made a difference.
Thank you, Trent Franks and Sydney Hay for your vision to advocate for a tax credit scholarship that passed in 1997 and has led to tens of thousands of children receiving scholarships to attend the educational setting best meeting their needs.
Sydney dedicated 25 years or more to support every school choice measure, using her creative, visionary leadership to advocate for groups of students to get Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs). This exposed the need for every student to have the opportunity to have an ESA. Thanks also to her daughter Sarah Raybon who informed numerous parents about educational opportunities and continues to serve.
Thank you, former state legislator Steve Yarbrough, for serving 16 years in the state Legislature crafting school choice laws and providing strong leadership. He was among those who started the Arizona School Tuition Organization to implement the scholarship tax credit law.
Thank you, Tim Keller, formerly with the Institute for Justice, Matt Ladner formerly with Goldwater Institute, and Deborah Sheasby, former Legislative Counsel at CAP, for drafting the state’s first empowerment scholarship law. These three allies now serve in different capacities but were engaged at critical times in the school choice movement.
Thank you, Tim, for using your legal abilities to defend school choice laws all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
I am grateful to be allied with pregnancy resource centers, other pro-life groups, and leaders today, and to work alongside Goldwater Institute, American Federation for Children, Love Your School, Arizona Catholic Conference, Arizona Free Enterprise Club, and others for educational freedom.
And certainly, most critical: Thank you, state legislators, who voted for these bills, governors who signed them, and attorney generals who defended them.
Finally, bless all those who have stood with CAP since 1995 in defense of life, most especially Len and Tracy Munsil for their leadership at CAP during those first ten years.
You can help protect girls and women!
Americans have until September 12th to voice their concerns about President Biden’s sweeping executive order that effectively destroys Title IX and strips girls and women of their privacy and opportunity.
Biden issued the executive order in July, bypassing Congress and unilaterally changing the definition of the term “sex” in federal law. By expanding the term “sex” in Title IX to include gender identity, Biden mandated radical gender ideology in public schools and trampled on parental rights.
The Child and Parental Rights Campaign is informing and encouraging concerned citizens to weigh in on the White House overreach during the public comment process either on or before September 12. Their website walks you through the process and provides vital information to make your points. The site points out the fact that the U.S. Department of Education is required to consider and respond to the public comments, “If they fail to address comments about negative impacts, a court may strike them down as arbitrary and capricious.” The goal is to submit as many comments as possible to force a reconsideration.
The Colson Center sounds the alarm about Biden’s disastrous executive order here, warning it “will erase parental rights and free speech in favor of state-centered authority.”
- Read here how a federal judge ruled the distress of gender dysphoria is a disability and falls under the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act
- Read here how some librarians are working to push the LGBTQ agenda on children in certain suburbs.
- Read here an argument for turning the tables on the marriage debate.
- Read here about an assessment of America by the United Nation’s “Gender Czar”