Boundaries: Get Clear!

Here’s the scenario: you’re on a date with someone new, and it feels like the two of you will be headed towards the bedroom soon. Once you’re in the heat of the moment, neither of you have protection (you haven’t visited a Maine Family Planning clinic in a while). You’re conflicted. But you make the decision to follow through with it because your new crush doesn’t seem worried about not practicing safe sex. The next morning, you wake up wishing you had listened to that nagging voice in your head–you wish you had made a different decision and now you’re feeling badly about ignoring your instincts.

writing in bed

Have you ever been here? So many of us have. Often times, we ignore our instincts and gut-feelings because our boundaries–our ‘yeses’ and ‘nos’– weren’t particularly clear to ourselves in the first place. Boundaries are nuanced; they change all of the time–depending on our mood, our current feelings, and the situation.   Continue reading

Youth Leaders: Create Positive Change in Your Community!

myanMaine Family Planning believes that young people deserve accurate, non-judgmental information about reproductive health, sexuality, and their own bodies. That’s why it’s so important that our clinics offer confidential, affordable services to teens, and that MaineTeenHealth.org and AskMTH (our anonymous, free Q&A service) offer accurate, non-judgmental information. We really enjoy working with young people, and we’ve seen the difference that they can make in their communities, schools, and in the state of Maine. 

This month’s Community Spotlight highlights the Maine Youth Action Network (MYAN)’s Annual Youth Leadership Summit, where young people (and adults who work with them) can gain the skills and knowledge they’ll need to create healthier communities. MYAN’s mission is to partner with youth to create change in their communities; this week, we talked with them about the summit so that we could pass this opportunity along to the teens and adults who are engaged in the work of Maine Family Planning.

What is the Maine Youth Leadership Summit?   Continue reading

TODAY IS NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DAY!

Are you registered to vote in November’s election? Here’s why it’s important and here’s what you need to know about registering and voting.

register-to-vote

Six weeks from today, on November 4th, Maine voters will elect a Governor, a U.S. Senator, two members of Congress, 35 State Senators, and 151 State Representatives. Every voter will have the opportunity to cast their vote for Governor, U.S. Senator, one member of Congress, one State Senator and one State Representative. Think this election’s not important because you’re not voting for President? Here are some reasons your vote matters this year: Continue reading

Back-to-Campus Supplies: Textbooks, Laptop… Birth Control!

Late August in Maine means that many of us are furiously trying to fit studentin a few more lake days, gorging on lobster rolls and ice cream, and squeezing every last drop out of these long, warm days. For some, the end of summer means getting ready to head to college. Those back-to-school days can be absolutely exhilarating, but the to-do lists can also be a little daunting: spend quality time with your family and friends before you go, register for classes, buy books, connect with roommate(s), pack. And pack. And pack.

One more thing to add to the list before you head to campus? Birth control. Continue reading

It’s Not a Dirty Secret (Get Tested)!

coupleholdinghandsclinicImagine a world where testing for sexual transmitted infections (STIs) was as normal and routine as getting a flu shot or your teeth cleaned. Imagine if there was no shame in asking to be tested for chlamydia or gonorrhea or HIV. Imagine how many people–who may have been infected without knowing it– could live healthier lives because they didn’t fear the social repercussions of having an STI.

Sexually transmitted infections (also known as sexually transmitted diseases/ STDs) are self-explanatory: infections that are primarily transmitted through sexual behavior such as vaginal, anal, or oral sex. About 20 million new infections occur every year in the U.S., and about half of those will be among people under the age of 25. If left untreated, STIs can lead to a number of health problems– including infertility, cancer, chronic pain, high-risk pregnancy, and even death.

But here’s the tricky thing about STIs….

Continue reading

Supreme Court Rules on Birth Control Coverage Case

Supreme Court Rules on Birth ControlOn Monday, a sharply divided Supreme Court ruled that family-owned, for-profit corporations may hold religious convictions, and that those corporations may opt out of the federal regulations requiring employer-sponsored health insurance to cover contraceptives, based on the corporation’s religious convictions.

What does this ruling really mean, in practical terms?

Here are some of the most significant repercussions of this decision:

Continue reading

Supreme Court Rules on Buffer Zones ~ What it Means for Family Planning Patients

abortion_clinic_buffer_zone_cc_imgYesterday, the Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts law that established protected buffer zones around reproductive health centers. This is very disappointing  for those of us who believe people should be able to access health care free from harassment and intimidation.  The decision holds the protesters’ right to harass and intimidate the public as more important than a person’s right to reproductive health care.  The fact that the author of the decision characterizes these protests as “personal, caring, consensual conversations…” demonstrates their lack of understanding of what our patients are up against. Continue reading

Meet Pam ~ A Maine Family Planning Staff Profile

pam jandreau-3For thirty years, Pam Jandreau has been doing family planning work in Aroostook County. That’s right… thirty years!

Earlier this week, Pam and I talked about her family planning work experience, among other things.

How did you start working in family planning? I was taking some college classes and volunteering for the sexual assault hotline. This job came up and I applied and I fell into it. It was a great job right from the start.

What kind of work did you do before coming to family planning? In my twenties, I worked as a nurse’s aide in a nursing home. I totally enjoyed that. Then I lived in Portland for a while and worked at the Executive Inn on Congress Street. I enjoyed that too. I just love working with people.

How is working in family planning different from other health care work you’ve done?  Continue reading

Family Planning in Aroostook County ~ A Photo Narrative

Jennifer Thibodeau here…

It’s been almost a year since Maine Family Planning assumed the management of Fort Kent, Houlton, and Presque Isle Family Planning health centers in Aroostook County, and the staff there have been doing amazing work in their communities!

Last week, I took a trip up to The County to meet with some local community partners and our own staff. It was a lovely few days in northern Maine, and I thought I’d share some photos and notes with our readers. Continue reading

Emily’s Abortion Video ~ Breaking the Silence

emily letts

Emily Letts, abortion counselor at Cherry Hill Women’s Center in New Jersey

In March, Emily Letts posted a video of her abortion online. Last week, Cosmopolitan magazine ran a story about Emily and her video. Since then, the video has gone viral and Emily has received lots of attention, both positive and negative.

I was surprised when I watched Emily’s video, even though I’ve been doing family planning work for over ten years. I guess some part of me had internalized anti-choice messages. My response to Emily’s video was, “Wow, really? That’s it?”

The whole procedure took just a few minutes and didn’t seem that different from other gynecological procedures I’ve experienced. I wondered whether Emily’s abortion was unusual. To find out more, I discussed the video with Kate Gawler, LPN who serves as the Director of Abortion Care Services at Maine Family Planning. Continue reading

On The Front Lines