Tackling Teen Pregnancy in Rockland Maine

Author’s Note: From time to time, On the Front Lines features an FPA program. This week — the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative in Rockland.

Like many Maine communities, Rockland has a teen pregnancy rate higher than the state average. However, while several towns have seen their teen pregnancy rates decrease sharply in the past decade, Rockland is one of the few towns whose rate has remained consistently high — at more than double the state average.

Enter Keegan Ross.

A recent graduate of Rockland District High School, Keegan is a natural leader — he served as Senior Class President and Student Senate Treasurer. Even as a busy senior, Keegan still felt a need to take on another role — to increase awareness about his hometown’s high teen pregnancy rate.

Together with the Student Senate and School Nurse, Ilmi Carter, Keegan organized and spearheaded a week-long project to bring teen pregnancy prevention awareness and education to his fellow students.The awareness week included lunchtime education sessions, an after-school screening of the movie Juno followed by a discussion about teen pregnancy, and a student survey.

Over 300 students completed the survey and the results are really interesting. Sixty-six percent of students say they feel comfortable talking with their parents about sexual health issues. And 77% of students say there is a need for family planning services at their school.

Keegan’s project at Rockland District High School is just one part of a much bigger story. Continue reading

A Back-to-School Suggestion — Be Kind

Another summer break is coming to a close and in the next couple of weeks hordes of eager learners, from preschoolers to college students, will be heading back to school. And, of course, all of their teachers and professors have been preparing their classrooms and lesson plans.

Going back to school, at whatever grade level, is a BIG deal.  So big, that I felt compelled to say something about it in this week’s On the Front Lines.

But I just wasn’t sure what to say.  I could discuss the importance of comprehensive sexuality education. Or I could write a piece about the sexual development of young people, with a link to our resources for parents. I just wasn’t sure what would be most helpful to our readers.

My problem was solved the moment I came across this — Continue reading

Anti-Choice Protesting as a Career Path

Are you feeling ready for a career change but you’re just not sure what your next move might be?

Allow me to assist you.

Last week a colleague pointed out this little gem on the 40 Days for Life website. Apparently you can get credit at “Pro-Life University” for protesting in front of the FPA offices in Augusta.

University credit?

This is just the sort of tidbit that fuels my imagination and I’m wondering what classes at a “pro-life university” might entail.

Here’s a list I came up with — Continue reading

Paying for Birth Control — What’s Your Story?

Have you heard the good news? Beginning August 1, 2012, the full range of birth control methods will be available to tens of millions of U.S. women with no co-pays or deductibles.

How wonderful is that?!

Along with several other preventive services for women, the new guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services require health insurance plans to cover contraception and contraceptive counseling. This marks true progress — viewing birth control as preventive health care and making sure women have access to services that impact their health and the health of their families.

This is good news.

But what’s even better is that Maine happens to be more than a decade ahead of Washington, D.C. on this one. In 1999, the Maine Legislature passed what is known as an Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraception Coverage (EPICC) law. This law basically says that any insurance company doing business in Maine, that offers a prescription benefit, has to include contraception coverage.

Go Maine!

This is all terrific news for women with health insurance coverage. But what about the millions of women and teens who don’t have any form of health insurance?  Women like Rachel Fey, who wrote about it in this  Pregnant Pause blog post.

Rachel’s story is not unique Continue reading

When Parents and Teens Can’t Talk About Sex

After reading last week’s post of On the Front Lines, a colleague asked me a couple of really good, pointed questions.

Wasn’t I putting a lot of pressure on parents — telling them they had to get comfortable talking about sex with their teens? What about those times when parents and teens just can’t talk about sexuality, for whatever reason?

He raised such good points, I decided they were worthy of further discussion. Continue reading