#WhyImVoting: Tell Us Your Reason(s)!

After months of campaign ads and endless polls, Election day is almost here. It’s time to get down to it: It’s time to vote.

To put it simply: Women need to vote. YOU need to vote. When women vote, change happens. 53% of voters in the 2012 election were women. Think of that power! We aren’t a voting bloc, we’re the majority. More specifically, single women are the most important voting group in this election – we make up 25% of eligible voters, and we consistently vote in support of reproductive rights. Want to know how powerful we are? Conservatives are so worried about our political power, Fox News is suggesting that single women skip voting and “go back to Tinder and Match.com.” 

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That’s why YOU need to vote. And to encourage your friends and family to vote.  If we all show up and vote next week, we will decide this election.  Continue reading

How Do I Decide Who I’m Going To Vote For?

So, you’re ready, you’re fired up, you’re going to cast your vote for the candidates who will bring your values to the halls of government!

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But first you have to learn enough about the candidates to know which ones you want to vote for.

Maine’s newspaper web sites are a great place to start. They all have comprehensive on-line voter guides, with information about all of the races and ballot measures. Enter your address and see all of the candidates and questions that will appear on your ballot. Click on a candidate’s name and the candidate’s answers to the paper’s candidate survey. There’s a lot of information out there, so much it can be overwhelming. You’ve probably OD’d on campaign commercials and social media messages about the races for Governor, U.S. Senate and Congress. But do you really know where the candidates stand on issues that are important to you?  How do you find out about the important legislative candidates who will appear on your ballot? It’s time for a little research.  Continue reading

Don’t Want To Wait for Election Day? You Can Vote Early!

Early_VotingThis is it, folks, one week before Election Day, when Maine voters will elect a governor, a U.S. Senator, 2 members of Congress, 35 State Senators and 151 State legislators, not to mention votes on local officials, bond issues and the ballot question on bear baiting. Are you ready? Ready to see your favorite candidate’s victory celebration? Ready to see the end of campaign ads and automated phone calls? We are, too. This is a big one, people. We have to make sure our voices are heard and we contribute to electing a government that will respect us.

Maine Family Planning wants to make sure you know everything you need to know to cast your vote. No excuses. Get out there. That’s why every day between now and election day, we’ll be posting information about voting in Maine. How to find your polling place; what to do if you’re temporarily living away from home (like on campus); how to find out what’s going to be on your ballot, and how to figure out which candidates YOU want to vote for.

And today, HOW TO VOTE EARLY:

Not going to be around next Tuesday? Don’t want to wait in line? Just want to cross voting off your list? You can vote NOW, TODAY, by requesting an absentee ballot. Continue reading

A Consent Game Changer

yes neonA few weeks ago, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law which compels California universities to use an “affirmative consent” standard when investigating campus sexual assaults. As Amanda Hess from Slate explains:

This means that during an investigation of an alleged sexual assault, university disciplinary committees will have to ask if the sexual encounter met a standard where both parties were consenting, with consent defined as “an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.” Notice that the words “verbal” or “stone sober” are not included in that definition. The drafters understand, as most of us do when we’re actually having sex, that sometimes sexual consent is nonverbal and that there’s a difference between drunk, consensual sex and someone pushing himself on a woman who is too drunk to resist.

Predictably, there was some concern about whether the state should be involved in the sex lives of college students. Continue reading

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.

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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.

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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….

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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

On The Front Lines