Let’s talk about parental notification, shall we?

16 Oct 2014 07:45 pm
Posted by: Donna

“I obviously know more about any 14 year old’s family situation than she does!”

Anti-choicers hold two positions that are broadly popular with the public. One is support for late term bans, as antis have somehow convinced the majority of Americans that women will abort perfectly healthy pregnancies in the sixth to ninth months with alarming frequency unless the law stops them. The other is parental notification, which is one of those things that sounds reasonable if you don’t really think about it much (and most people don’t). So it’s no surprise that Arizona Republican candidate Doug Ducey would end his silence on reproductive rights throughout the general election campaign with an attack on Democratic candidate Fred DuVal over parental notification.

Here’s part of the statement that AZ GOP chair Robert Graham (pictured above) put out about it:

“Mr. DuVal’s position to remove parents from a decision of life and death is completely reckless,” said Pastor Jose Gonzales Q, of Harvest Bible Church. “Regardless of your position on abortion, we cannot possibly leave these types of decisions to developing minds. We are entering an age where parental involvement is increasingly important, but to even suggest that a minor – much less a 14 year-old – can intelligently comprehend the long-term impact of such an action is absurd.”

But that same 14 year old can intelligently comprehend nine months of pregnancy culminating in painful (and often dangerous to a still-growing body) and having to decide whether to parent the child or surrender it for adoption, right Bob? What Graham is referring to is Fred DuVal opposing parental notification laws in an interview. DuVal gave a perfectly fine answer to it, one that was brave considering that he’s running for Governor in a purplish state. DuVal said that requiring her to notify her parents infringes on the right of the pregnant woman to choose. That’s absolutely true but there’s even more wrong – disturbingly wrong – with Arizona’s parental notification law.

Arizona lawmakers were so eager to punish teenage sluts a couple years ago that they passed a law requiring notarized parental consent. Here’s the form that Planned Parenthood provides, which makes it pretty unambiguously clear that the girl (who must be named) is getting an abortion with the permission of her parent or guardian (also named). What medical privacy? The law does stipulate that documents relating to the parental notification are not public records and cannot be disclosed, but the notary public still knows you are getting an abortion, and if don’t trust that person and you live in a gossip-y community, that could be cause for concern. The whole point of the notarization is to humiliate and intimidate young abortion patients and their families. The anti-choice legislators made sure that even girls with the most loving and supportive parents in the world wouldn’t get away with abortion without some mandatory slut-shaming.

And for those unlucky girls who just can’t tell their parents for whatever reason, here’s what they get to go though!

Obtaining Consent for an Abortion
In order to obtain permission for an abortion from a judge, you must visit the Superior Court in the county where you live and file an application (also known as a petition) at the Clerk of the Court’s Office. You will then meet in private with a clerk who is specifically trained in this process.

Once you have completed the application, the clerk can assign a lawyer who will represent you at no charge. The clerk will then take your application to the judge, who may hear your case right away. If that is not possible, a notice of a hearing will be given to you. It will tell you the time and day of your hearing.

During your hearing, the judge will probably ask you some questions to decide if you are mature enough to make the decision to have an abortion yourself or if an abortion would be in your best interest. You may be nervous, but don’t worry, that is normal. Simply answer the judge’s questions honestly. Some questions that might be asked are:

Are you aware of existing alternatives to abortion, including adoption and parenting? How did you make the decision to have an abortion?
Are you aware of how an abortion is done and do you understand the possible medical risks? You may be asked to describe the procedure or the risks to the judge.
Does your partner know that you are pregnant? How does your partner feel about the pregnancy? You are not legally obligated to tell your partner that you are pregnant.
What kind of relationship do you have with your parents? Why are you unwilling or unable to talk to your parents about your pregnancy? What do you believe would happen if you told them? Do you have reason to believe they would react negatively due to something that has happened in the past?
Do you work? If so, where and when do you work, how much money do you make? Do you go to school? If so, are you a good student?
How are you going to pay for the abortion? Do you know what would happen if you had a medical complication? Who would pay for your care?
What are your future plans (school, job, etc.)?
What do you know about birth control? Are you planning to use it in the future?

After the Hearing
After the hearing, the judge will decide whether you may proceed with your abortion. Usually, the judge makes a decision right away, and you are immediately given a written Court Order that tells you what the decision is. If not, the clerk will arrange a way to get the decision to you.

If the judge authorizes you to have an abortion, immediately contact an abortion provider to schedule your appointment.

If the judge refuses to authorize the abortion you may:

Appeal the judge’s decision. Your lawyer can help you decide if this is a good idea in your case. If you did not have a lawyer when you began the process, you will need one for an appeal.
Ask your parents for their consent.

That seems fun, doesn’t it? This is what makes Graham’s pious moralizing all the more nauseating. Neither he nor Doug Ducey give a shit about the well-being of teenage girls. Conservatives are simply freakishly obsessed with imposing sexual “purity” on girls and young women and always dreaming up inventive ways to punish those who don’t conform.

But like I said, parental notification laws are supported by two thirds to three quarters of the population, depending on the survey. This is because it’s one of those subjects that is super-susceptible to “common sense” appeals, such as “but kids can’t get a tattoo without parental approval so why is abortion different?” There’s a simple explanation of why they are different: When parents are notified that their daughter is considering an abortion, they’re not just being notified of the procedure. They’re being notified that she’s pregnant and, more to the point, informed that she has had sex. Maybe not most, but a good percentage of parents do not react well to that, with some becoming violent. A high school friend of mine got beaten bloody when her father learned she was sexually active. In some communities sexually active daughters are disowned by their families. And frankly, we as a society have a lot of collective growing up to do about female sexuality before parental notification ever becomes a good idea.

Of course, that’s not likely to happen when there are right wing prudes in charge who think the threat of a violent father and death from cervical cancer keeps young women chaste. And don’t kid yourselves (looking right at you, Lisa Graham Keegan), Doug Ducey is exactly that kind of reactionary.

UPDATE: Robert Graham and I interacted on Twitter last night:

Doug Ducey’s plan to help poor single mothers is to further subject poor young men to prosecution

16 Oct 2014 11:58 am
Posted by: Donna

The final debate for Arizona Governor between Democrat Fred DuVal and Republican Doug Ducey was held in Scottdale on Tuesday afternoon. It was a debate on “women issues” hosted by various local organizations. Questions about a number of topics ranging from the budget to energy to water were posed to the candidates and it wasn’t until the end when both men were asked questions thought to be specifically pertaining to women. The final question before closing statements was a very good one, about how each would help struggling single mothers in Arizona, many of whom head families living in poverty. (I can’t embed a video but you can view the entire debate here.)

When it was Ducey’s turn, he seemed a bit uncomfortable with the question and launched into his usual empty argle bargle about “growing the economy” But about halfway through he got quite focused and animated as he launched into a rant on “deadbeat dads”, as if he’d just then remembered his debate coaching.

It’s my philosophy that if you are old enough to father a child you are old enough to financially take care of that child and I will use the power of the Governor and law enforcement to garnish those paychecks and make sure those dollars get to those single mothers and there’s some responsibility for these actions.

Now, I realize there are some fathers out there who deliberately shirk their financial support obligations. and that’s a problem, but note Ducey’s formulation here: His comments are aimed directly at young men and his use of the phrase “law enforcement” seems deliberate because who are the young men in our state who regularly face law enforcement? I definitely got the sense that you were supposed to picture certain young men there, if you know what I mean.

The internet is a cesspool of misogynist and MRA garbage where the topic of child support is concerned but it is possible to find clear-eyed, rational treatments of it, such as this NYT piece by Eduardo Porter in which he criticizes an enforcement model that is overly punitive, outmoded, and ineffectual:

For years, policies to help disadvantaged children have been designed to provide as little help as possible to their estranged parents. Mothers benefit from support programs like the earned-income credit and public housing only to the extent that they are caring for children.

Noncustodial fathers have been treated exclusively as sources of cash, subjected to things like wage garnishment or incarceration to enforce child-support orders that can remain in place even when fathers lose their jobs or go to jail, making little allowance for fathers’ ability to pay.

Many don’t. In 2011 some 5.6 million mothers were due child support but only three-quarters of them received any, according to census statistics. Fewer than half received the full amount due. In 2012, the Office of Child Support Enforcement logged 11.5 million cases in arrears, worth a total of $114.6 billion.

Reliable support from fathers can clearly improve the lives of children and their mothers. Still, there are adverse consequences from pursuing it at all costs. Studies suggest that strict enforcement of child support reduces the employment rates of young black men, driving them into crime and the underground economy. And mothers and children often gain little when public assistance is proportionately withdrawn.

Incarceration rates have multiplied by five over the last 35 years. Most of those imprisoned are young black men. More than half have young children. When they get out, their chances of finding a job will be minimal. But their child-support arrears will be waiting.

In Arizona it is likely that poor Latino and Native American young men are the ones disproportionately targeted by harsh child support enforcement. Ducey claims that there is $1 billion in uncollected child support in our state but that figure tells you nothing about how much of that can be pinned directly on irresponsible young men (hanging around the street corner with their sagging pants and rap music, no doubt) willfully withholding payments from the poor single mothers of Arizona. Parents at all income levels can be “deadbeats” but efforts to collect from them, as difficult as they are, are more likely to succeed with noncustodial parents who actually have the means to pay when they are finally made to do that.

Basically, Doug Ducey is engaging in the kind of feel-good “tough” sounding rhetoric that sells well in an election (his “deadbeat dads” remarks were a soundbite on one local news broadcast later in the evening) and appears to be supportive of women. He is not, however, proposing anything meaningful to help single mothers and their families living in poverty in Arizona. Ducey is certainly clueless about how to help poor young men with no prospects.

HRC AZ disappoints with Ethan “Bros Before Hoes” Orr endorsement as news media fawn over his weed announcement

14 Oct 2014 11:55 pm
Posted by: Donna

I learned via good sources on Facebook earlier that the Human Rights Campaign of Arizona has decided to endorse incumbent Ethan Orr (R) along with Dr. Randall Freise (D) for Legislative District 9. It’s bad enough they are snubbing Orr’s seatmate Victoria Steele (D) but they are throwing their support to a guy who has a lousy voting record on human rights issues. (CORRECTION: I have since learned that HRC AZ is endorsing Steele. They picked Orr over Friese.)

I understand that Orr is nominally pro-LGBT rights and, who knows, maybe he has finally come out in support of marriage equality. HRC AZ may be rewarding him for voting against SB1062 (not that it mattered since the bill passed anyway). If that’s the case, I would urge extreme caution about that. Ethan Orr strongly opposes a woman’s right to choose, which should be upsetting enough if you believe that human rights should be a full meal for all, not a cafeteria plan for some. But what that also means is that if/when SB1062 comes back, it will be (as I’ve explained many times) disguised as a “Hobby Lobby”-type measure. They’ll just say the magic word “abortifacients” and Ethan Orr will be on board. Thus, he really cannot be pro-LGBT if he is also anti-choice.

Orr has gotten a mystifying amount of earned media for recently promising to introduce a bill to legalize recreational weed next year. It’s not as if Orr is breaking ground with this because Ruben Gallego introduced something similar last year and debated it publicly with conservative opponents. Hell, I said we should consider legalizing recreational pot at my Clean Elections debate when I was running for state senate back in 2006! (I caught a ration of crap for that, by the way. Ethan Orr has nothing on me!)

It’s unlikely Orr’s weed bill will get anywhere, unless the GOP is seeing strong indications that the planned ballot 2016 initiative on legalizing recreational MJ is going to be gangbusters, in which case he would deserve no credit for it. What offends me about Orr’s posturing about pot legalization, as much as I agree with his position, is how this is yet another way he demonstrates his “moderation” by only supporting personal liberties that could enjoyed by men, and in some case disproportionately so. Orr is all for the gun rights, for the gay rights (supposedly), and (now) for the weed rights. Is he for women’s reproductive rights? Hell no.

Ethan Orr is a cafeteria-style “moderate Republican” who thinks you should give him cookies, and your vote if you’re in his district, for looking out for his bros while kicking dirt on women. This is pure “bros before hoes” libertarian douchewad politics. Just say no to it.

Maybe try having him in dreads and tie-dye next time

13 Oct 2014 03:38 pm
Posted by: Donna

Oh my heavens, the Intellectual Conservative blog has SHOCKING HIDDEN CAMERA FOOTAGE of a nefarious fiend stealing Republican candidates signs!!

Unbelievable. We’ve been told the thief will be prosecuted and has been given a court date. The signs were posted on private property with the consent of the owner. Was the thief a Democrat operative? Or someone connected to one of the opposing candidates?

Let me be clear that this could be footage of an actual sign theft in progress. But you’ll have to forgive me for being a tad skeptical about this little sting operation. How is it they happened to have a camera waiting where those particular signs were and a thief who, oh-so-conveniently, showed up, parked in full view of it, and ran out to snatch the signs? Looking cartoonishly guilty as all hell about it. In broad daylight. On a busy road.

Also, and I’m not saying you can judge everyone’s political affiliation by their appearance, but it has been my experience that young men who look like Skippy McFratbroerson there tend not to be Democratic operatives, or even Democrats. You can find an abundance of said dudebros at Young Republican events, though. So IC Arizona has “been told” the thief has a court date. I’ve been told that we might find the “thief” at the sign-in table at a Michele Reagan fundraiser. Both statements were on the internet so who knows which is true? So many questions!

AZ Republic endorsement of Ducey is a giant FU to women and naive besides

12 Oct 2014 03:21 pm
Posted by: Donna

Photo: AZCentral.com

I expected this since the AZ Republic endorsed three Dems for statewide races and the publisher of the paper, and publisher John Zidich is known to be a pal of Ducey, but I was struck by the sheer obtuseness of their endorsement of Doug Ducey for Governor.

He speaks of the need to streamline an executive branch that sprawls across an organizational chart. He promises to be a vigorous and visible salesman for the state, speaking the language of CEOs.

He knows what national business leaders look for, and that’s why we have no fears that a Ducey administration would usher in anything like SB 1062, the right to refuse service bill. For one, when Ducey led Cold Stone, the company provided insurance for the unmarried partners of its employees. “The things that are the right thing to do are good for business,” he says. “That’s how you attract good people.”

For another, he knows when SB 1062 did the most damage to Arizona’s image: after it was passed but before Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed it. “I’d rather it not get to my desk than have it get there and have to veto it,” he says.

The editors are so confident that Ducey will steadfastly represent the interests of “national business leaders” that they’ve forgotten that after he said he’d have vetoed SB1062 back in February, he then praised the Hobby Lobby decision in July. They are essentially the same thing! And Doug Ducey knows it:

The executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party, DJ Quinlan, publicly demaned the state treasurer fire Herrod, the president of the Center for Arizona Policy, earlier today.

The state-wide conservative group mostly recently backed the controversial SB 1062.

Ducey, however, did not. He told the Star last week:

“The religious liberty issues that SB 1062 attempts to address are legitimate ones, and I believe there is a way to draft language that would address the concerns of everyone involved and avoid the acrimony and notoriety that have accompanied this bill’s passage. I would veto SB 1062, but would then bring together all the interested parties before this legislative session adjourns to forge consensus on acceptable language protecting religious liberty.”

Translation: Doug Ducey basically said there that he had every intention of bringing SB1062 back, contrary to the fantasies of AZ Republic editors dazzled by his ice cream and economic underwear gnomes. When SB1062 comes back it will be wrapped in slut punishing, “narrowly tailored” to the poor, dear craft store owner or pharmacist whose religious views give him sads over dispensing the whore pills. They can expect few protests and no objections from the business community to that.

Only – because attacking women’s reproductive rights never seems to be enough to get some people to see that religious authoritarians are a menace – the “narrowly tailored to punish the sluts” court rulings and laws have a habit of creeping over into other areas. Just as the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision led to this, Doug Ducey’s refurbished SB1062 could similarly open the door to all kinds of acrimony and notoriety for Arizona. Only it will be too late by then.

It comes as no surprise, though, that the ed board would be utterly unconcerned about the fate of (mostly poor) women under a Ducey administration. After all, it’s two most senior members are Doug MacEachern and Bob Robb. MacEachern is an angry and befuddled old man who thinks birth control causes abortions and Robb considers abortion to be an “epidemic” and a “sad barbarity”. It is statistically likely that women in their own families have availed themselves of abortions, since one in three American women will have one in her life. But those “discreet procedures” are always necessary and justifiable, unlike those that poor women whom Doug and Bob don’t know or care about need.

Culture war issues FINALLY surface in Governor’s race and Ducey is operating straight out of the Pat McCrory playbook on them

08 Oct 2014 09:25 pm
Posted by: Donna

Photo: AZ Republic

I have to say there have been some encouraging developments in the AZ midterms the past few days. First Howie Fischer weighed in, and then the Arizona Republic (finally) ran a piece highlighting the significant differences on so-called “social issues”, that is, a host of things that affect a lot of people’s lives, rights, financial situation, ability to participate fully in society, etc., but do not necessarily fall within the confines of what rich white people consider important.

While Arizona’s most controversial social policies have generally originated in the state Legislature and the courts have had the final say, the governor is the gatekeeper. As the state’s chief executive, the governor holds the veto stamp and has historically used it to push back on legislation deemed too far outside the public interest.

Democratic candidate Fred DuVal has (rightly) been pushing religious, reproductive, and LGBT issues into the campaign lately because everyone not living in a cave in Arizona has to be aware of how often they are the subject of legislation in our right wing majority legislature. Ducey, for his part, desperately does not want to discuss these issues. Back in the primary I predicted that “centrist” Mesa Mayor Scott Smith would do this, but now it seems that the Republican nominee Doug Ducey is definitely channeling North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory (R) who swore up and down all he was concerned with was jobs, jobs, jobs, when he ran for that office in 2012.

To win, “Ducey can’t rely solely on Republicans, he has to rely on independent voters,” who tend to be younger and more liberal on social issues, said Rodolfo Espino, an associate professor at Arizona State University’s School of Politics and Global Studies. “That is why, when he talks about some of this stuff, he automatically moves it back to the economy and education. It’s, ‘Let’s not talk about this stuff any more.’ “

Pat McCrory’s pragmatic campaign posturing turned out to be a big fat lie and there is every reason to believe the same will be true of Ducey, judging from his alliance with Cathi Herrod and his own charitable activities. He shouldn’t get away with his evasions on reproductive rights.

This focus on “social issues”, or as I like to call them “human rights”, could not come at a better time, as mail in ballots drop on Thursday. I do have reason to fear they will soon be eclipsed, based on listening to KJZZ’s Here and Now on Wednesday, as host Steve Goldstein allowed AZ Republic’s Bob Robb to drone on about the state’s projected $1.5B deficit and how it was the most important thing facing the candidates (thankfully Chad Campbell was also there to throw cold water on Ducey’s craptacular economic ideas).

Now, as writer Connor Kilpatrick once very succinctly observed, worrying about deficits is how dumb people have pretended to be smart since the FDR era. They also provide Very Serious PeopleTM the opportunity to engage in Very Serious Chin Stroking about how much more poverty-punishing austerity is necessary. In fairness, the state’s deficit does differ from the federal in that Arizona is required to balance the budget, so it is a problem, but that doesn’t excuse the idiotic punditry that has been going on throughout this election season on fiscal matters.

Arizona political reporters, I hate to break it to you but you are not as clever as you think you are when you constantly press the candidates about the budget and how they’re going to pay for things. It’s honestly tiresome watching you try to pin them down on that, again and again. “But…but..what is your PLAAAAN?!?” The revenue situation of the state is not some impenetrable mystery. It is the result of an ill-advised 1992 amendment requiring a supermajority to raise revenue followed by years of cuts to revenue leading to (who could have seen it coming?) a structural deficit.

Thus, Fred DuVal could not raise taxes (the only real way to replace the revenue) if he wanted to, and the likelihood that you’ll get your “gotcha” on him by getting him to touch that electoral kryponite for no good reason is nil. Doug Ducey’s genius plan involves yet more corporate tax cuts and eliminating the income tax entirely, which will somehow cause underwear gnomes to grow the economy. So the fiscal choice is between one candidate, DuVal, who will hold things together and do good things to the extent the office allows and the other, Ducey, who will actively make things worse for the majority of Arizonans. That’s it. That’s the choice.

So why not make this race about the stark distinctions between the candidates on how they will treat women, minorities, poor people, and immigrants, AKA the majority of people in Arizona? It really tells you a lot more about their basic values and reasoning ability than their thoughts on fiscal policy ever will.

Randy Kendrick will have none of your guff on dark money, peons!

07 Oct 2014 05:47 pm
Posted by: Donna

Photo: Arizona Republic

Terry Goddard has made “dark money” the signature issue of his Secretary of State campaign and Arizona news people are raising the alarm over millions of anonymously raised dollars being poured into races from Governor down to the state legislature. Charles and David Koch are the source of much of this money and, boy, do they have a friend in Randy Kendrick, who serves on the board of the Goldwater Institute and is married to Ken Kendrick, co-owner of the AZ Diamondbacks (the Diamondbacks organization has a history of funding Republicans and right wing causes).

Here’s Randy’s letter to the AZ Republic editor on Tuesday (annotated by yours truly):


Regarding ” ‘Dark money’ begins to sully campaigns” (Editorial, Saturday):

I appreciate that you were honest enough to point out that “of the top 20 organizations contributing to political campaigns over the past 25 years, 15 of them contribute overwhelmingly to Democratic candidates liberal causes (And I was rocking the stone washed jeans in 1989 but, more recently, conservative spending has been swamping liberal) . However only now do you say that dark money “begins to sully campaigns.”

Since far-left and liberal “dark money” has overwhelmed conservative money for decades (You poor dears could simply never catch a break), why is it that media groups like yours have only started making it a debate topic now when a very few of us on the economic-freedom side of the intellectual world have joined the race? (Oh, I dunno, maybe it’s because there are very few of you and you guys want to have a whole lotta power over the government.) Only now do you focus like a daily drumbeat on private campaign donations as if they were a sin? (Or maybe we’d just like to know who the donors are so that we could, you know, determine for ourselves what possible motivations they might have.)

I love my right to contribute privately (duly noted), and I am a huge fan of Charles Koch (tells me everything I need to know about you, Randy). He has provided jobs and work to millions through his entrepreneurial abilities (AKA “inheriting an oil fortune from your father”), brought prosperity to our country and others and realizes what policies and ideas help create prosperity for the poor and lift them into the middle class (I’m not sure how ending the minimum wage would ever lift a single person out of poverty). I am proud of my association with these efforts to help the poverty-stricken with great jobs and a chance to rise. And no matter what name you give to our efforts (“dark money” seems to work), I am proud of my association with Charles Koch.

Please quit calling me for comment (duly noted). Quit with the intimidation! (Okay! Gosh, you must be so afraid to leave the house!) Quit making other donors afraid to associate and give to great causes (haven’t noticed that). Quit sullying the practice of private and anonymous free speech, which dates to the anonymously written and published “Federalist Papers” and the right of the NAACP to keep its donors private during the civil-rights era.(Impressive equating of Charles Koch and your rich self with civil rights activists of the 60s, truly.)

I have seen death threats against the Koch family due to their strength to stand up for the ideals of the America that I love. (Death threats? Stop that! Mockery is so much more effective!) Probably we will get those now that I’ve spoken out. (Seriously, Randy Kendrick making these tone-deaf “47 percent” statements does waaay more to help the left.) At least my children are gone to college (I’m glad for them too).

Stop with the name calling and start talking about the truth. The left and unions give anonymously more than the right ever has. (Not even close to true anymore, and even if it were, voters can easily guess what the “United Auto Workers” are after with their contributions. The vaguely-named “Americans For Prosperity”? Not so easy.)

I am proud to join the battle to fight for the kinds of policies that have lifted untold billions of people out of poverty (citation?).

—Randy Kendrick, Paradise Valley (obviously)

I’m honestly surprised she didn’t mention George Soros in that screed. Kendrick is yet another example of a rich person who is every bit the crackpot that the stereotypical “toothless redneck” Tea Party activist is. Except that she truly thinks she is better than the rest of us peons, while acting as though we’re victimizing her.