Planned Parenthood Teen Peer Educators Lobby in Olympia on MLK Day

Jan. 21st Teen Lobby Day will focus on health insurance parity
— Helping to create the healthiest generation ever!


Kristen Glundberg-Prossor


Published: 01.19.13| Updated: 01.19.13

Olympia, WA — On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized abortion, 85 Planned Parenthood peer educators will be busy practicing their case before visiting their own state legislators. 

Kaelin Newman, a 17-year-old from Bothell, wants to ensure that her legislators are protecting all women’s right to choose by voting in favor of the Reproductive Parity Act. That’s why Newman and her fellow educators from western Washington to lobby at the State Capitol on Monday, January 21st.

“Teen Lobby Day is a great thing because I’ve learned why getting into politics and why talking to local legislators is the best way to get your voice heard,” said Newman. “I’m not old enough to vote but I can go to the Capitol and tell them my story.  I don’t think it’s right for the legislature to make personal medical decisions for me or anyone else.”

The Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest (PPGNW) teens, who hail from Thurston, Pierce, Kitsap, East King, Mason, Snohomish and Lewis Counties, will urge their legislators to support critical family planning funding as well as the Reproductive Parity Act.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Eileen Cody (D-34) and Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-44), is groundbreaking because other states are banning abortion from plans sold in the new Affordable Care Act state exchange but Washington State will be the first to say the common medical procedure is part of basic health care.

“None of my friends can imagine having an abortion, but the fact is that one in three women will have one by the time they’re 45, and that’s why insurance needs to cover it,” said Newman, a high school senior who is finishing her Associate’s Degree at Cascadia Community College through the Running Start Program. “As the Affordable Care Act moves forward, it’s up to Washington legislators to make sure women have the same access to all pregnancy options when they’re buying insurance.”

2013 marks the 12th year that Planned Parenthood teen educators have made the trip to Olympia to meet with their legislators.  The teens provide a valuable perspective to their legislators and were instrumental in passing The Healthy Youth Act in 2007—ensuring   that public schools that teach sexual health education use curricula that is medically accurate and comprehensive.

The teens will arrive in Olympia on Sunday and begin training sessions designed to help them understand how laws are madean and practice being effective citizen lobbyists.  Gaby Rodriguez, the teen who made national headlines in 2011 when, as a seventeen-year-old high school senior from Toppenish, Washington, revealed she had faked a pregnancy for a class project will be the special guest of Sunday’s program. Rodriguez’ unusual experience inspired a Lifetime movie and a book also titled The Pregnancy Project.

Another focus of the teens’ lobbying efforts will be to retain funding for essential family planning programs -- every $1 spent on family planning saves the state $4.10 on pregnancy related care costs.  

“It’s fitting the teens lobby on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  It serves as a reminder of how much we have accomplished and how much we have yet to achieve in our country,” said Jennifer Allen, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest (PPVNW) Director of Public Policy.  “Planned Parenthood is proud to help a new generation learn to advocate for quality health care for all Americans to ensure that Dr. King’s dream of health care justice is fulfilled.”

For inquiries, please contact Kristen Glundberg-Prossor, Director of Media Relations 206.276.4737.

Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest is the region’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate. We believe everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child and that every child should be wanted and loved. Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest operates 28 health centers in Alaska, Idaho and western Washington, providing medical services and sexuality education for thousands of women, men and teenagers each year. Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

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