As we enter into the second week of legislative session in Alaska, legislators are continuing to grapple with how to address and prevent sexual harassment at the legislature and two seats remain unfilled following recent resignations. We are continuing to meet with legislators on our top priorities – ensuring consistent access to contraceptives; repealing barriers to inclusive sex education in schools; and protecting access to safe, legal abortion.
Our main focus over the past week has been the urgent need to pass HB 25 (insurance coverage of contraceptives). This bill had a hearing in the House Health and Social Services committee yesterday afternoon. Lawmakers heard about the positive impact this bill will have for victims of domestic violence who are experiencing contraceptive coercion. Contraceptive coercion is a form of domestic or intimate partner violence where the abuser will dictate when and how contraceptives can or cannot be accessed as a means of gaining power and control over their partner. The ability to access the full range of birth control methods and to get a full year’s supply at one time will allow women to take greater control of their own contraceptive choices.