Jul 13, 2022 - Politics

Planned Parenthood AZ wants candidates to turn down police support

Illustration of a no-sign in the shape of a red cross over a police badge.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The political arm of Planned Parenthood Arizona is requiring candidates to either reject or return contributions from law enforcement organizations to receive an endorsement.

  • Multiple politicians previously supported by Arizona's Planned Parenthood chapter did not receive endorsements ahead of the Aug. 2 primary.

Why it matters: Opponents of the political organization's new requirement worry the anti-police rhetoric will divide supporters of reproductive rights at a time when it's never been more important to be united.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona's board voted in 2020 to ask candidates to stop accepting contributions from police unions or law enforcement agencies but didn't make it a requirement for endorsement until this election cycle.

What they're saying: "We've been very clear that in (an) environment where police will enforce abortion bans we are looking for candidates who would stand up to attempts to stifle reform (of) our criminal justice system. Donations from law enforcement stop progress," PPAA past board chair Chris Love tweeted Sunday.

PPAA did not respond to questions from Axios Phoenix about its endorsement policy.

Love and others have said on Twitter that PPAA is not asking candidates to support defunding or abolishing police, just to decline financial contributions from the police.

But Tempe council member Lauren Kuby, who is running for Arizona Corporation Commission, saw her endorsement rescinded after she supported the city's budget, which included funding for police.

Of note: The budget included $2 million less for the police department than the previous year's budget but did provide funding to fill nine sworn officer positions, AZcentral reported.

Kuby declined an interview but said in a statement to Axios that she's proud of her work "protecting reproductive freedom and abortion rights. This includes much work with Planned Parenthood."

In addition to refusing law enforcement money, candidates are asked to explain their views on reproductive justice, environmental justice, immigration and LGBTQ rights and describe how they've addressed systemic racism, according to a candidate questionnaire obtained by Axios Phoenix.

  • "PPAA views policy through the lenses of reproductive, economic, racial and environmental justice. These are not silos but intersections of real life. Having bodily autonomy to make life decisions and have those decisions respected and reflected in policies is what freedom looks like," the questionnaire says.

Rep. Andrea Dalessandro is not running for reelection but has received PPAA endorsements since 2008. In 2020, however, the organization questioned her qualifications, despite being named Progress Arizona's most progressive lawmaker, she tells Axios.

Since then, Dalessandro says, she's been disappointed in the organization's lack of focus and negativity toward pro-abortion rights candidates who don't fit all of PPAA's other standards.

  • Candidates should not have to choose between being pro-choice and supporting police, she says.

She calls a mailer sent by Activate 48 with PPAA's logo supporting Secretary of State candidate Reginald Bolding disrespectful toward opponent Adrian Fontes, who is also a pro-abortion rights Democrat.

  • Both Bolding and Fontes previously served on the Planned Parenthood board.

What she's saying: "Their issue is too important to not stay in their lane," Dalessandro says. "I wish they were united and focused on their main issue that I support 110%."

Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the national political group that issues endorsements for U.S. House and Senate candidates, did not return a call asking whether it supports Arizona's endorsement policy.

Notably, the national group has endorsed Sen. Mark Kelly for reelection. Kelly is running television ads criticizing the "defund the police" movement.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to show the mailer was sent by a third party with Planned Parenthood Arizona's logo (not by PPAA itself).


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Phoenix.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Phoenix stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Phoenix.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more