May We Suggest a New Year’s Revolution?

It’s January, which means it’s New Year’s Resolution season. Maybe you resolved to take good care of your health, to give back to your community, or to save more money.  Because taking care of ourselves can be a political act (as Audre Lorde reminded us), might we suggest you make a New Year’s Revolution, instead?

Whether or not your resolution feels revolutionary, there’s something nice about a new year and a fresh start– and it’s especially satisfying to know you’ve done something kind for yourself (we can help!). Continue reading

Here’s Lookin’ At You, 2014.

For many people, the New Year is a time to take stock of the past year: a time to measure how far we’ve come, to learn from the challenges we’ve faced, and to make resolutions for the year ahead. 2014 was a pretty eventful year for Maine Family Planning specifically and for reproductive rights generally. So before the ball drops, let’s toast to a year of showing up for reproductive rights and sexual health—and resolve to continue working towards reproductive justice for all.

A New Year Brings a New Look:

In early 2014, we changed our name, debuted a new logo, and launched our new (and much improved) website. It feels good to start a new year with a fresh start!

The Birds, The Bees, The Buzz:

TheBuzz_Honeycomb_FinalLast spring, Maine Family Planning launched The Buzz, a statewide network of volunteers who advocate and educate about sexual health and reproductive rights on social media and in their communities. Buzz members have addressed important issues like reproductive coercion, the stigma surrounding STDs, and negotiating boundaries on our blog.

The Supreme Court Goes Retro:

Supreme Court Rules on Birth ControlIn June, the Supreme Court ruled that companies may opt out of contraceptive coverage based on religious objections. While it’s possible that this decision will not result in restricted access to contraception, the implication that private, for-profit corporations can make personal health decisions for their employees is worrisome.  The bright spot? Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a (notorious) dissent that inspired a song– and more importantly, inspires us to work on new strategies for ensuring access to care.

Open Door Opens its Doors:

We have proudly offered reproductive health services to patients of any gender at our clinics for years. In August, we expanded the scope of health services available to transgender patients and began offering hormonal transition therapy at our Lewiston clinic. Because it’s time.

Yes Means Yes:

yes neon

America talked about sexual assault a lot this year, and even though some people said not-so-great things, we think that more conversation is a good thing. From the hashtags #YesAllWomen and #WhyIStayed to Uber to Rolling Stone to Bill Cosby to Columbia University (the list goes on), we’re seeing more conversation, more awareness, and more people taking action.  Part of this cultural shift is an emphasis on affirmative consent. In September, California’s governor signed an “affirmative consent” law– and though the law only applies to California universities, we think this is a game-changer when it comes to the way we discuss sexual assault and healthy sexuality.

Hollywood Gets Obvious:

Obvious Child, a mainstream movie that deals with abortion in a realistic way, is released. [Spoiler alert:] Like the majority of women who’ve had an abortion, the main character doesn’t have a change of heart, doesn’t battle an infection, and feels– among other emotions–relief rather than shame or regret. While one in three American women will have an abortion in her lifetime, the average woman’s experience with this safe procedure is almost never portrayed in TV or movies. Two feminist thumbs up.

We Turned Out (and we’ll keep it up):

While the results of this year’s election weren’t necessarily ground-breaking for reproductive rights, Maine did set a national record for voter turnout. Results aside, there’s no denying that Mainers really do care about the future of their state. We came close to expanding Medicaid funding for Family Planning services in 2014: it passed in both the house and senate, and when the Governor vetoed it, the legislature was only three votes short of overriding that veto. This expansion would allow thousands of Mainers to access reproductive health care– so you can be sure we’ll be bringing it back to the legislature (and Maine’s highly engaged voters) in 2015.

We Are All Feminists:

women collageIn 2014, Laverne Cox was among Glamour’s women of the year, Mo’Ne Davis was Sports Illustrated’s SportsKid of the Year, and Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Beyonce announced it, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie helped us define it, and when Time asked whether we should consider banning the word feminism, the world answered with a resounding no.

Was 2014 the year of the Feminist? We like to think it’s a trend that will never go out of style.

beyonce feminist

Getting Covered: Six Things We Want You To Know.

Outreach & Enrollment for blogThe Health Insurance Marketplace is now open, and Maine Family Planning is here to help you navigate your options. With two Certified Application Counselors (CACs) traveling to our Augusta, Bangor, Belfast, and Lewiston Family Planning sites, finding and enrolling in a plan is easier than ever. Whether you’re enrolling for the first time or simply renewing your current plan, we can help guide you through the process.

While we can make it easier for you to find an affordable plan, we know that there’s still a lot of confusing information out there about health insurance. To help break things down, we’ve put together a list of the top six things we think everyone needs to know—so read up, share with friends and family (and then give us a call)!

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Reproductive Justice in Maine: Moving Our Communities Forward

MonicaLast week, Monica Simpson came to Maine to speak to staff, community partners, and supporters of Maine Family Planning. Simpson is the Executive Director of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, a network of over 80 organizations representing women and communities of color. These organizations have been working to shift the conversation around choice and access by fostering discussion about the ways in which people’s identities, communities, and government intersect to influence women’s ability to make decisions about their own bodies and families. Twenty years ago, they named this framework Reproductive Justice.

Reproductive Justice (RJ) recognizes that the right to have or not have children and the right to parent in safe and healthy environments are human rights–and demands that governments and society ensure that legal, family, and community conditions support these decisions. People need to be able to make these choices and access services safely and affordably–otherwise, they aren’t real choices.

We find enormous value in the Reproductive Justice framework, and we were inspired and invigorated by Monica’s visit.

In many ways, we are working to address some of the primary tenets of Reproductive JusticeContinue reading

So Much To Be Thankful For, So Many Ways To Give Back!

i-careOnce in awhile they let me out of my fundraising office and unleash me on the unsuspecting public. This week’s blog isn’t about specific policies or politics or programs– but it IS about easy ways to support Maine Family Planning. Please don’t delete me. Read on!

First, for the first time ever we’re participating in #GivingTuesday on December 2nd. As the #GivingTuesday website states:

“We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.”   Continue reading

Get Covered!

Outreach & Enrollment for blogMaine Family Planning has always been a place where anyone can access affordable health care, regardless of insurance status. While we do accept both private and public insurance, many of the women and men who seek care with us are uninsured. In fact, we’re often one of the only health centers that those without health insurance can afford to visit.

Reproductive care is essential health care, and the ability to decide whether and when to have children is crucial for economic security, educational attainment, and for safe and healthy families. But as important as reproductive health care is, it’s not the only kind of care that people need. That’s why Maine Family Planning will be available to help our patients and their families enroll in affordable health insurance plans– we want our patients to be covered for ALL of their healthcare needs.

Open enrollment in Marketplace Insurance Plans starts November 15th, 2014 and remains open until February 15, 2015. For those who don’t have health insurance, this is the time to sign up for coverage, and Maine Family Planning is here to help

Continue reading

It’s Election Day — Make Your Voice Heard!

Election day is finally here—and we’re asking you to (please!) get out there and vote today!

We voted! Look at all this gorgeous democracy.

We voted! Look at all this gorgeous democracy.

Find out where your polling place is HERE. All polling places in Maine are open NOW, and will stay open until 8:00 tonight. If you’re in line to vote at 8:00, you will be able to vote.If you’re at least 18 and a U.S. citizen, YOU CAN VOTE TODAY! Thousands of people across the country are being denied the right to vote today because of unfair laws meant to suppress their voices. Millions more around the world don’t even have the right to vote. You do. We are lucky to live in a state that has great voting laws that support everyone’s right to vote. Use that right, and make your voice heard.

Here are some things to take with you, just to be safe: Continue reading

Not Sure If You’re Registered To Vote? Here’s What You Need To Know.

registertovote-02

Are you registered to vote? Or maybe you’ve registered in the past, but not in the town where you currently live? Not to worry. Maine has great laws to make voter registration easy and make sure you can vote. Here’s what you need to know:

Any U.S. citizen who is at least 18 and lives in Maine can register to vote. You can register at your town office, through any Motor Vehicle branch office, in most state and federal social service agencies, any time before Election Day, or you can register on Election Day at your polling place.

What do I need to register to vote? Continue reading

#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!

mic podium

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

On The Front Lines