Good News ~ Bad News: Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

Another year has drawn to a close and we’ve got a brand new year ahead of us. It’s the perfect time to take stock of where we’re been and where we’re headed in the world of reproductive health and rights in the U.S. and here in Maine.

Here’s a piece of good news from 2013: a major study published this year showed that intrauterine devices (IUDs) are safe for teens and there’s no reason to deny them this option. This is a great affirmation of the work of the FPA, where we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of patients getting IUDs and other long-acting, reversible contraceptives at our health centers.

Increased use of IUDs is one of the major reasons for this other bit of good news from the past year: across the country, teen pregnancy rates reached historic lows (again!).

And that’s great! Because access to family planning contraceptive services is linked to all sorts of positive outcomes, including higher incomes later in life.

All of this makes us wonder why, despite the proven value of birth control, certain groups of people keep trying to prevent access to contraceptive care for women and teens.

Consider the following…

Some employers are trying to prevent their workers from getting their birth control covered by insurance, as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Later this year, the U.S. Supreme Court will take up this issue, hearing arguments in two cases.  Depending on how the Court rules, this could be either good or bad news for women’s access to affordable birth control.

Speaking of the ACA, Maine is currently one of 25 states that has refused an increase in federal funds to expand health care coverage in our state.  Bad news, right? Yes, but we have an opportunity to change that!

In the next few months, the Maine Legislature will vote on new legislation to accept federal funds to provide health care coverage to 70,000 uninsured, hardworking Mainers. On January 8th, the opening day of the 2014 Legislative session, supporters of health care access will rally at the State House to tell the Legislature that health care needs to be their number one priority. If you’d like to join the FPA and many other supporters at this rally, visit the Maine People’s Alliance website for more information.

More people with health care coverage means more women with access to effective birth control. Seems like those who oppose abortion would see this as a really good thing.

Speaking of abortion access, the baddest news of 2013 is this long list of terrible abortion restrictions that went into effect in several states.

Anti-choice legislators here in Maine consistently propose similar legislation that would restrict reproductive freedom for Mainers. That’s why the FPA engages in public policy advocacy, working to protect access to the full range of reproductive and sexual health care services and comprehensive sexuality education. Sign up for our Action Alert network for regular updates and ways you can be involved.

I hope you’ll work alongside us and make 2014 a really good year for reproductive rights in our great state.

~ Nancy

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