Steering Spotlight: Hana Scheetz-Freymiller, Alaska Women’s Lobby

hsm

Washington, D.C. – A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Hana Scheetz-Freymiller has dedicated her professional work experience to standing up for women’s rights – whether it’s access to critical women’s health services or equal pay for equal work, Scheetz-Freymiller has committed herself to empowering women and their opportunities. Last week, as a guest of Sen. Begich, she met with over 20 women’s reproductive rights leaders at a Steering and Outreach meeting at the U.S. Capitol.

The meeting focused on Senate Democrats continued efforts to protect women’s rights to make their own health care decisions, strengthening women’s economic mobility, and the effects sequestration will have on limiting funding for preventative care services, in addition to a reduction in funding for domestic violence care centers. The issues at hand were important to strengthening our families, and helping to create dynamic communities.

“To me, the meeting demonstrated that Democratic Senators not only promote these issues on the campaign trail, but are determined to craft smart policy that will protect reproductive rights and further affordable access to family planning services,” said Scheetz-Freymiller. “I am honored that Sen. Begich invited me to bring some Alaskan perspective to this national conversation. The Senate Democratic Steering committee provided me with a unique opportunity to both highlight the challenges facing young Alaskan women to US Senators and learn what types of policies are being discussed by leading reproductive rights advocates.”

During the hour long discussion, the Presidents of Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and others discussed the importance of ensuring access and funding for family planning services with the 20 Senators who were in attendance. In addition, the conversation included how providing woman employees with flexible work schedules, onsite childcare programs, and other resources would help make businesses more competitive and grow our economy. Some of the leaders also raised concerns about the importance of access to women’s health services in rural and undeserved populations.

Many women simply don’t have access to family planning services and birth, regardless of whether they can afford it,” said Scheetz-Freymiller. “This is a common reality in rural Alaska and on tribal lands. I hope that Senators will build on the ACA and Medicaid provisions to make universal access a reality.”

Scheetz-Freymiller is currently a masters in public affairs candidate at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University where she co-chairs the Gender and Policy Network. Like many young adults across the country who are balancing education and work, Scheetz-Freymiller has benefited from the provisions in the Affordable Care Act. As a student on a tight budget, I now worry a little less that my resources will impact my health, or that I’ll have to choose between my dream job and birth control coverage. It’s like a weight has been lifted,” said Scheetz-Freymiller.

Scheetz-Freymiller has worked with the Alaska Women’s Lobby, the Alliance for Reproductive Justice and Planned Parenthood of Alaska to further policies that promote women’s reproductive rights. From 2009 to 2011, she managed anti-poverty policy research at Innovations for Poverty Action where her portfolio included microfinance, community development and family planning in Sub-Saharan Africa. She hopes to use her degree to keep fighting for the policies that will place women on a fair economic playing field.