JUNEAU — Today, 31 youth from across Alaska came to the state capitol to meet with their legislators and advocate for reproductive health and rights as part of the third annual Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands Lobby Day.
“It is an honor to watch young people in Alaska come from all over the state and take part in the democratic process by speaking out and voicing their opinions to their elected leaders,” said Jessica Cler, Alaska Public Affairs Manager at Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii. “Over the past year, we have seen federal policies meant to strip Americans of their basic rights to control their bodies and lives — and it has pushed state politicians to further attack people’s rights and access to health care. Today, we are asking our state legislators to protect access and promote policies that empower, educate, and inspire young people in their communities instead of taking us backward.”
In the largest group to date, 18 Teen Council members, seven Generation Action and Planned Parenthood activists, and six education and Planned Parenthood staff showed up in pink, ready to advocate for reproductive health care. The Teen Council program continues to grow across the nation. Currently there are more than 30 active Teen Councils nationwide, many of which will host their own lobby days to continue the fight for reproductive rights and access.
Key meetings during today’s lobby day include a joint meeting with Governor Bill Walker and Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott, along with State Representatives from Juneau, Anchorage and Fairbanks.
This year, PPVNH teens will urge legislators to protect access to family planning, increase access to sexual health education, and join 11 other states and the District of Columbia in increasing access to birth control through 12 months of birth control. In addition, the youth will ask legislators to fight back against the attacks on the more than 7,000 low-income people who rely on reproductive health care from Planned Parenthood in Alaska, and stand up for health care access to ensure healthy communities across the state.