Local Young Woman Shares her First Experience Lobbying for Womens Rights
By Kit Kuran
In February, members of the Clark County Democrats teamed with Vancouver’s Planned Parenthood to lobby local politicians in support of the Reproductive Parity Act.
The RPA (HB 2148 / SB 5798) requires health plans “ . . . that provide coverage for maternity care or services to provide a covered person with substantially equivalent coverage to permit the voluntary termination of a pregnancy . . . “ (HB 2148). We went to Olympia to press our message to keep women’s reproductive choices a private matter, and that a personal choice should not be limited or shaped by legislation.
From Vancouver, we bussed to Olympia where the day began meeting constituents of other legislative districts of Washington, being briefed on details of the bill and covering the basics of lobbying. After a brief lunch, we marched to the Capitol building where we rallied and listened to speakers supporting the bill. Then we began to speak with our representatives.
I grouped to lobby with others from my legislative districts in Clark County, WA. Senator Ann Rivers (R-18LD) was not able to meet with us, though we spoke with her legislative aides. We were able to meet personally Rep. Brandon Vick (R-18LD) for a brief meeting. Afterward, Rep. Liz Pike (R-18LD) was able to come out from voting momentarily to speak with us. While these conversations may have left more to be desired, I was glad to act as a constituent of the community and see other inspiring women of Vancouver advocate for this act.
I am happy to report that the bill ultimately passed in the House (though both Rep. Vick and Rep. Pike voted nay), and is now waiting to be voted on the Senate floor.
The day was an appreciated learning experience for me. I was happy to meet other pro-choice women performing amazing work in the community. I was inspired by the women with whom I lobbied, and their knowledge and eloquence regarding the topic. I learned a great deal about the lobbying process, and appreciated being able to meet my representatives. I appreciate the role of the Clark County Democrats as a conduit for public participation.
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Clark County Dems blogger Kit Kuran grew up in Santa Clarita, CA. She graduated UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Feminist Studies and a minor in Politics. After graduation she attended a Gender Studies Program at Lund University, Sweden. Kit currently lives in Vancouver, WA and works as a women’s crisis line advocate.