Arizona State Health Officials Resign in Protest

Two Planned Parenthood officials resigned from Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s (R) Commission on Women’s and Children’s Health last week amidst growing concerns about the governor’s policy on women’s health issues. Planned Parenthood Arizona (PPA) Chair Dr. Candace Lew and PPA President and CEO Bryan Howard submitted a letter of resignation that accuses Governor Brewer of allowing political calculations to influence women’s health policy, reports the National Partnership for Women and Families.

Lew and Howard allege that Brewer’s recent legislation mandating a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions and her recent acceptance of over $1 million in funding for abstinence-only education are proof of Brewer’s disregard of women’s health. Lew and Howard wrote in their resignation letter, “We cannot continue – through our participation in the commission – to endorse the numerous policies your administration has taken that endanger women’s health. Since you’ve taken office it has become clear that political priorities outweigh women’s health priorities,” reports the Arizona Republic.

The governor’s spokesperson, Paul Senseman, responded in a written statement, “The governor – both in actions and what she has stated in her goals – has demonstrated a commitment to women’s health and state services that can continue to provide for those women who are at risk.” Senseman also defended the acceptance of funding for abstinence-only education and denied allegations that the governor broke a verbal agreement to pursue more aggressive advertising campaigns for Planned Parenthood’s sexually transmitted disease testing.

National Partnership for Women & Families 8/5/09; Arizona Republic 8/5/09

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