If Arizona Is ‘Pro-Life,’ Let’s Look Beyond the Womb (video)

If Arizona is truly a “pro life” state, it’s time to think big on maternal and child health rather than thinking small. Let’s go beyond the womb with our “pro-life” ideals and help Moms and their children lead healthier, safer lives.

I have met with more than 100 people and analyzed the data, the needs, the costs, and the gaps in services in maternal and child health in Arizona for more than a year.

The bottomline is that Arizona has stingy policies, cumbersome bureaucracy, and unnecessarily lengthy application procedures that cost money and lives and limit access to healthcare. I ran on this issue in 2015, and five years later, I am shocked at how right I was.

Did you know that Arizona is dead last– #50 — in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)? ACEs include food insecurity, housing insecurity, loss of parent(s) due to incarceration, death, addiction or abandonment and similar sad scenarios.

Did you know that only 6% of the people eligible for TANF (Temporary Assistance for Need Families) in Arizona actually get it? Not even all Arizonans living in extreme poverty get TANF.

Did you know that women, who are eligible for AHCCCS (Arizona’s Medicaid system), are coming to indigent clinics pregnant with no prenatal care, no insurance, and no money?

It is morally unacceptable and fiscally irresponsible to deny basic healthcare, food security, housing security, and a solid education Arizona’s children and their parents.

social determinants of health
This graphic represents House Democratic Caucus bill ideas that would address maternal and child health by looking at the social determinants of health.

Republicans in the Arizona Legislature are forcing future generations to live in poverty while proposing millions of dollars in tax breaks for utility companies, developers, multinational corporations, and the wealthy.

The needs in maternal and child heath are great in our state, particularly among African-American women, Native American women and rural Arizonans.

It’s time for Arizona to think big about maternal and child health. I have bills to expand TANF to the full five years federally eligible (HB2066); to expand workforce development in entry level medical professions (HB2585); to fund those community health workers and certified nursing assistance to do basic prenatal care and outreach in rural Arizona (HB2587); to fund Healthy Families to do follow up outreach and health education with new Moms and babies (HB2586); to fund high-quality childcare (HB2588) to require healthcare providers to disclose religious beliefs that may preclude them from providing all legal drugs and services (HB2068); to give the Mom equal pay for equal work by ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment (HCR2002); to put more money into the Housing Trust fund (HB2583); and to develop “Truth in Renting” standards. I also co-sponsored Senator Lela Alston’s housing security bills.

I hear that the house Republicans have over $200 million in tax giveaways ready to queue up. When we have such great need in our state, giving away revenue instead of investing it in our children and our future, is irresponsible.

Let’s stop comforting the comfortable and focus on helping the children and those in need.

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