Arizona Gaining Upper Hand in Battle for Unborn

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PHOENIX -- Voters across America have made it clear they don't want their taxpayer dollars going to Planned Parenthood.

In fact, several states, including Arizona, are stripping the nation's largest abortion provider of taxpayer money.

The Great Canyon state has scored several victories on the pro-life front.

"In Arizona, we've made considerable progress to protect life, both of the pre-born child and their mothers," said Cathi Herrod, head of the Center for Arizona Policy, a powerful force in pushing through pro-life legislation.

Before taking on Planned Parenthood, Herrod described herself as a liberal feminist. Then Jesus changed her life.

"As a mother, as a woman, when I see what abortion has done to women, my concern about the future of my children and my grandchildren, how can I not be involved?" Herrod said.

"Deborah in the book of Judges was a woman who awoke and arose in Israel and led the troops," she continued. "And I feel that same calling."

Another person answering the call to defend the unborn is Gov. Jan Brewer, who has faced nasty criticism over her pro-life stance but hasn't wavered.

"You know, it wasn't tough really for me because I believe in what I believe," Brewer said. "I believe in the right to life. And I know that so much of what is going on in our state is going on in other states in regards to funding of Planned Parenthood."

"I believed it was wrong. So it was not a difficult choice for me," she said.

Other pro-life victories during Brewer's tenure include banning partial-birth abortion, strengthening parental consent laws, and requiring an ultrasound before undergoing an abortion.

So why is Arizona leading the way when it comes to pro-life victories across the country? It has a lot to do with pro-family voters helping to change the legislature.

In 2006, Arizona ranked near the bottom when it came to voter registration and turnout. Then in 2008 the tide turned, bringing hundreds of thousands of new voters to the polls.

"Starting in 2008 when Arizona passed a marriage amendment, values voters went to the polls," Herrod explained. "They passed the marriage amendment, and they started electing pro-life majorities to the Arizona legislature."

"So, what we see in Arizona is that voting does make a difference, of course," she said. "When you go and vote your values, then you literally can be saving lives."

Since then Arizona has consistently ranked in the top 20 states for voter turnout. But the battle is far from over. Planned Parenthood is vowing to fight back against the movement taking away its money.

"We want our right to make our own decisions, to have children when we choose, and children that we can care for. And by God, we are not going to go back to the 1950s in the United States of America," Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards said.

One pro-choice weapon is the website, Women Are Watching, which contends that "we have been witnessing the most aggressive legislative attacks on women's health and rights in a generation."

Meanwhile, Herrod called her fight a personal one and said success is happening in Arizona for one reason: prayer.

"It begins with prayer," she said. "Over a dozen years ago, we began really laying a foundation of prayer in this state, to pray for good government, so it began with prayer."

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David Brody is an Emmy Award-winning veteran news journalist who has interviewed many prominent national figures during his career of nearly 25 years. Currently, David covers the White House and interviews national newsmakers across the country.  Follow David on Twitter @TheBrodyFile and "like" him at Facebook.com/TheBrodyFile.