Attack on Legislature ignores
lawmakers' priorities

By Kimberly Yee
Special to The Republic

Jul. 11, 2011

I chose to serve in the Arizona Legislature in order to make Arizona a safer and better place for our next generation.

And my legislative priorities have reflected that: Cracking down on bullying in our schools, protecting the health of women in our state and reining in our spending to lower the debt passed on to the next generation.

That's why E.J. Montini's column on Thursday ("Legislature: Anti-abortion and anti-children") is so offensive.

In typical fashion, Montini resorts to personal attacks and hyperbole to make his point, ignoring the facts and assigning malicious motives for any public policy that doesn't fit his worldview.

He says state lawmakers don't care about children.

Well, apparently, in Montini's view, dangerous abortions on demand and unsustainable levels of government spending are the best way to protect children. I couldn't disagree more passionately.

I was proud to support and help pass several measures this year to protect the health of women, including safeguards related to abortion by pill.

Medication abortions are not a safer alternative to surgical abortions, and clinics dispensing abortion medications should be properly licensed and equipped to handle complications.

Montini frames our efforts as purely political. For myself and the other lawmakers who supported these new protections, we believed these new laws were necessary and warranted.

The recent lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood that seeks to overturn these efforts demonstrates that the abortion industry is clearly more concerned with the number of abortions they sell than protecting the health and safety of women. This suit is an outrageous affront to the women of Arizona.

This brings us to the next part of Montini's attack: That Republicans in the Legislature couldn't care less about children after they are born.

As his evidence, he references budget reductions to state health-care programs, namely KidsCare.

In 2010, the Legislature made needed reforms to this program, and we continue to look at cost-saving measures in all of our entitlement programs. Unfortunately, due to years of out-of-control spending increases coupled with declining revenues, our obligations outweighed our cash flow.

We've frozen enrollment in KidsCare, but we're still providing coverage to roughly 18,000 Arizona children through that generous program. And keep in mind that KidsCare provides coverage above and beyond our existing Medicaid program, which covers well over 20 percent of the Arizona population, including parents and children.

We are nowhere close to throwing our most needy out on the street.

Moreover, I am one who believes that the only way we can continue to provide such a safety net is by making sure that we have a balanced and responsible budget and are not incurring new debt.

Protecting children and women have been priorities of this Legislature and personal priorities of mine.

To reach that end, Montini is endorsing a plan of more abortions and more debt.

I think most Arizonans would agree that is the wrong track.

Kimberly Yee is a Republican member of the Arizona House representing District 10 in Phoenix.