Summertime, Unemployment & Teen Pregnancy

Ah, summertime!  After a cold, snowy winter and a cool, rainy spring, we’re finally enjoying warm, sunshine-y days. I remember the summers of my childhood in Lewiston — riding my bicycle with friends, paddling around in the city pool, eating Popsicles — trying to keep cool in the brick and concrete heat of my downtown neighborhood.

Fast forward a few years to when I was a boy-crazy, rock-music-loving, hormone-driven teenager.  During my teens, summertime meant working extra hours at my job as a waitress in the local department store dinette. Gosh, even the word ‘dinette’ conjures up a simpler time when twenty-five cents bought you a cup of coffee and summer jobs for teens were plentiful.

Fast forward again, 35 years to the summer of 2011, and the outlook for teen employment is bleak.  Across the United States, teens seeking entry-level jobs are competing with older Americans who suffered financial losses during the recession and have had to supplement their income. Experts are predicting that only 25% of teens will find employment this summer, down from 45% in 2000.

What, you might ask, do teen unemployment rates have to do with  teen pregnancies? Well, if only one out of every four teens will have jobs this summer, I have to wonder — what will the other three out of four teens be doing? Continue reading

From Trepidation to Affirmation — The 125th Legislature & Reproductive Rights

As the current session of the Maine Legislature winds down, I’ve been reflecting on the recent challenges the FPA faced to our mission to ensure that all Maine people have access to reproductive health care and the right to control their reproductive lives.

After last November’s election, it was clear that a major change had taken place. Not only in Maine, but throughout the country, a more conservative mood prevailed among voters.  For the first time since 1974, both houses of the Maine Legislature were going to be Republican lead and there were many new legislators whose stance on reproductive rights was unknown to us.   The election of an anti-choice governor caused jubilation among anti-choice activists.

What, I wondered, did this mean for family planning and abortion care in our state?  Read the rest of this entry