U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, speaks during an interview at the Juneau Empire in February 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)                                 U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, speaks during an interview at the Juneau Empire on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, speaks during an interview at the Juneau Empire in February 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File) U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, speaks during an interview at the Juneau Empire on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Opinion: I’m thankful for Lisa Murkowski’s time and efforts

  • By Elizabeth Figus
  • Friday, November 22, 2019 4:01pm
  • Opinion

Last week, I traveled to Washington, D.C., and Sen. Lisa Murkowski agreed to meet with me in person. I asked the Senator to work hard to protect Title 10 (Title X), the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care. Title X, widely known as ‘sliding scale’ payment, has helped thousands of Alaskans to be able to afford basic care. As a Planned Parenthood and Title X patient myself, I know firsthand how important this program is for ensuring all people — regardless of where they live or how much they make — can access high quality reproductive health care.

Unfortunately, access to Title X funding is at risk because of a gag rule by the Trump Administration that has forced many health providers out of the program. Congress has the power to roll back the gag rule and protect Title X funding in their annual spending bill. But it will require bipartisan support.

Senator Murkowski ensured me that she stands with Alaskans regarding protecting access to affordable health care of all kinds, including access to Title X at Planned Parenthood. She even took a photo with me while holding a pin in support of saving Title X.

The Title X protections being negotiated right now in Congress are essential to ensuring all Alaskans can access affordable reproductive health care. I hope that Senator Murkowski and all of Alaska’s congressional delegation will work to pass Title X protections soon.

I want to thank Senator Murkowski: for taking time to listening to me; for holding a thoughtful conversation about Title X funding and the gag rule; for doing her homework and bringing an informed approach to decision-making in Washington; and, for her continued willingness to make time in her busy schedule when Alaskans come to visit in D.C.


• Elizabeth Figus has been an Alaska resident since 2012. She lives in Juneau during the winter and commercial fishes around Alaska during the summer. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.


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