Jul 22, 2022 - News

Candidates endorsed by AZ Planned Parenthood face police pushback

Illustration of a gloved hand about to flick a police badge.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Politicians endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona have a police/political problem.

What's happening: The advocacy group required candidates seeking its endorsement to reject financial support from police unions and law enforcement agencies.

  • PPAA board members have said on social media that police will enforce abortion bans and, "Cops are NOT our friends in this fight."
  • Opponents of PPAA-endorsed candidates are claiming they are anti-police because they went along with the group's requirement.

Why it matters: Most Americans support abortion rights and also support increasing or maintaining police spending, according to Pew Research Center.

  • Pitting the two issues against each other could be politically dangerous.

We asked PPAA-endorsed state and county candidates to explain their views on law enforcement.

  • Secretary of State candidate Reginald Bolding and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman did not respond to multiple interview requests.

Katie Hobbs, a Democrat running for governor, says she does not support cutting police department budgets and is 100% committed to making sure Arizonans have access to safe and legal abortion and that law enforcement has the resources it needs to protect communities.

  • She says efforts to criminalize doctors for performing abortions will limit police officers' ability to "prevent and solve serious crimes."
  • "As someone who myself has faced death threats and armed protesters outside of my home, I am grateful for law enforcement and their work to protect communities."

The other side: "Katie Hobbs is no friend of police, and her promise to reject law enforcement’s support in order to receive a political endorsement is living proof of her radical agenda," Republican Governors Association spokesperson Will Reinert said in an email.

  • Gubernatorial candidate Karrin Taylor Robson and AG candidate Abe Hamadeh launched similar attacks on their PPAA-endorsed opponents.

Democratic AG candidate Kris Mayes answered with a "resounding no" when asked if she supports efforts to defund or abolish police.

  • "I am proud to be the only candidate for attorney general who is pro-law enforcement, pro-public safety and pro-reproductive rights. No matter what outside groups do in this race, I'm always going to put Arizonans' health and safety first."
  • Mayes says she oversaw "badged, armed and brave" securities investigators when she was a corporation commissioner and looks forward to working with police agencies across the state to combat human smuggling, drug cartels and more if elected.

Maricopa County Attorney candidate Julie Gunnigle says her PPAA endorsement reflects her feelings about police union support, not police departments themselves.

  • "We should not have prosecutors taking police union endorsement, money and help getting elected. That is an example of a conflict of interest," Gunnigle says, noting that the county attorney is responsible for deciding whether to prosecute officers in use-of-force cases.
  • She wouldn't say whether she's personally supportive of defunding police departments, calling it a "distraction from the real issues."

Of note: Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the national advocacy organization, has not returned multiple phone calls asking whether it supports the local group's endorsement policy.


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