Last week, as we began our celebration of Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, I noted that the U.S. has experienced dramatic decreases in teen pregnancy rates over the past decades. While this is an excellent trend, our teens still lag far behind their peers in other countries.
Take a look for yourself: the U.S. has much higher teen birth rates than other western,
industrialized countries and it doesn’t stop there– teen pregnancy and abortion rates are also much higher in the U.S.
On average, U.S. teens initiate sexual activity around the same age and are no more sexuality active than teens in other countries.
So, what are we, in the U.S. doing wrong?
Or to put a more positive spin on the question, what are other countries doing right? Continue reading
Here in Maine, spring has finally sprung—the birds are singing, bees are buzzing, the trees and flowers are budding and blooming. It’s so wonderful.
All this talk about the birds and the bees has me thinking about Maine’s highly successful efforts to reduce the rate of teen pregnancy!
On May 1, 2013, the FPA joins organizations across the country to recognize the 12th annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. The purpose of the National Day is to focus the attention of teens and their parents on the value of avoiding too-early pregnancy and parenthood. How are we doing that? Continue reading
Understanding the many different components of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) can be a daunting task. This week, I’d like to share some important information about federal funds for expanding health coverage.
Thankfully, the Maine Center for Economic Policy and Maine Equal Justice Partners have thoroughly researched this topic and recently published a report on the impact for Maine of accepting federal dollars for health coverage.
The report concludes that:
Maine has an opportunity to cover more people and save millions of dollars currently spent to treat uninsured people in emergency rooms. We can do this by accepting federal dollars to provide health coverage to approximately 69,500 uninsured Mainers. This decision is in the hands of Maine’s legislature and governor. It will have important consequences for Maine’s economy and people.
I encourage you to read the full report. In the meantime, here are some of the main points. Continue reading
We see it all the time, right outside the gates of our Augusta health center.
Anti-choice protesters spend enormous amounts of time and energy spreading lies about abortion care services. At the FPA, we prefer to focus on the truth — backed up by decades of research in the field.
Here’s the truth about five of the most common lies about abortion. Continue reading
It’s happening all over the country – and it’s happening here in Maine, too.
Every day we hear about another attempt to restrict women’s access to reproductive health care somewhere in America – a 12-week abortion ban in Arkansas… elimination of family planning funding in Texas… forced ultrasounds in Virginia. It’s clear that the groups working to deny us control over our reproductive lives have decided that state legislatures are the new battlegrounds for the War on Women.
But they can’t make any headway here in Maine, right? Maine’s legislature and Maine’s voters have always supported reproductive privacy, right? I mean, we defeated anti-choice bills two years ago, even with a large number of strongly anti-choice legislators.
Reproductive rights are safe in Maine, right?
Wrong. Continue reading
Our guest blogger reflects on having a mother who works as an abortion care nurse.
My mother didn’t always provide abortion care.
For decades, she was a nurse at the local hospital, providing care in both the Pediatric and Labor & Delivery units. She dressed in kid-friendly scrubs, covered with happy cartoon animals and bright splashes of color. She would often bring home crayon drawings that her young patients made for her.
At home, my mom maintained an extensive collection of first aid goodies. Anytime there was a bee-sting, bloody knee, tummy bug or sore throat, my dad would exclaim “Call the nurse!”– and there would be my mom, with her tool box of ointments, syrups, bandages, and instruments to really, truly make it better. That woman would make you a gingerale-slushy and a couch-bed that could make any flu bearable.
This woman was a soother of sick kids, a comfort to new moms and a support to families in true need of help and encouragement. She loved working with those kids and she adored caring for newborns and their moms. When she left her job at the hospital and, just a few years later, began working as an abortion care nurse, I wondered. Huh, I thought– what a stark contrast to what she was doing before. But I was wrong. Continue reading
We are now 17 days into the “40 Days” protest.
Since February 13th, patients at our Augusta health center have had to pass the gauntlet of protesters just to get their health care needs met.
The 40 Days website claims the protests are dedicated to “prayer and fasting… peaceful vigil… community outreach.” As someone who was raised in a church-going family, those words appeal to me. I have family members who continue to profess their Christian faith by attending church regularly and doing things like visiting nursing home patients and donating money to charity. They live good, solid lives of faith and truth and mercy. They have my utmost respect.
At no time has any one of my family members tried to harass another person into following their beliefs, wielding their religion like a weapon to hurt others.
“There aren’t ‘women who have abortions’ and ‘women who have babies’.
Those are the same women at different points in their lives.”
~ Rachel Atkins, PA, MPH
I love this quote. It’s such a great reminder of the vast distance between the truth about abortion in the U.S. and the lies spread by the anti-choice movement.
The anti’s describe women who have abortions as selfish monsters who care only about themselves and their own lives. How are we to reconcile this hatefulness with the fact that 61% of women who have abortions in the U.S. already have at least one child. That’s right – mothers sometimes make the decision to have an abortion. Continue reading
Imagine if you had to drive by people waving, shaking their rosaries and carrying signs every time you went to your health care provider.
Let’s say you had to pick up your prescription — or it was time for your annual physical — or you needed some testing done.
Can you imagine having to pass a huge sign that says, “Praying for your Safety” as you head into your health care provider’s office?
Can you imagine being judged just for getting health care?
photo courtesy: wabi.tv
Note: This is the text of a speech given at the Roe v. Wade Anniversary Event held at the State House in Augusta.
I was born in 1987. By the time I even considered becoming sexually active Roe v. Wade had been the law of the land for over 30 years.
I come from a middle class, loving, supportive, pro-choice family. I tell you this because not only I have had the legal right to choose my entire life but it has also always been an accessible choice for me.
Due to the amazing work of the feminist movements that came before me, I was taught, as a girl, I could do anything. The things I wanted to be when I grew up ranged from a chemist to a teacher to a pilot. I was free to be who I am and become what whatever I wanted.
As a young adult I began to understand that there were people in the world that did not have the same rights as me AND I started to realize that there were powerful people and institutions out there who did not want me to have the freedom I felt entitled to. Continue reading