#HB2388: Big Brother Meets Aunt Lydia (video)

With big data surveillance, church recruitment, government-funded, incomplete and biased medical information, and unregulated clinics providing “all wrap-around pregnancy, counseling and post-childbirth services”, HB2388 is Big Brother and Aunt Lydia’s love child.

Last week was draining– with multiple tax cuts in Ways and Means, fake pregnancy centers in Health and Human Services (HB2388), and passage of the Build Your Own Border Wall on the House floor on reconsideration. (Another Zombie Bill brought back from the dead).

I recorded the video (below) late in the day on Thursday after the end of a two-part, marathon health committee meeting with multiple ideological debates. I am proud to serve with Dr. Amish Shah, and Reps. Kelli Butler and Alma Hernandez. The four of us did a great job standing up for patient choice, reproductive rights, medically accurate and unbiased information, science, privacy and separation of church and state.

HB2388 is a bad bill on multiple levels. 1) It forces a government-funded service (211 information line) to provide incomplete and biased medical information to women who have an unexpected pregnancy. 2) Fake pregnancy centers buy big data sets and search histories and use geo-targeting to send ads and info to women. (Big Brother and Aunt Lydia really are watching you, ladies.) 3) The centers provide free pregnancy-related services and counseling but are not licensed, not regulated and not inspected by the Arizona Department of Health Services. 4) Even though these fake pregnancy centers offer medical services they are not required to have a medical director or medically trained personnel. 5) Similar fake pregnancy centers in Texas are being sued for harassment (due to the geo-targeted messaging) and for using the fake pregnancy centers as a means to recruit women to become members of specific churches. When asked about separation of church and state by Rep. Alma Hernandez, Cathi Herrod, director of the right-wing, “pro-life”, dirty-money super PAC Center for Arizona Policy, Herrod said separation of church and state was not in the Constitution, so irrelevant to the discussion. She doesn’t believe in separation of church and state, basically.

We killed the 2019 version HB2388, and we can do it again this year. It passed out of House Health on party lines. Thanks so much to the Dems on HHS for standing up for women’s rights, reproductive choice, medically accurate health information, patient privacy, and separation of church and state.

The Arizona Legislature should fund the 211 information and referral line 24/7, with no strings attached, as it was before the Wall Street crash and the Tea Party Reign of Terror. Public health information should not be colored by religion or politics. It should be provided for the public good and guided by facts.