During the upcoming 2015 legislative session, the Maine Legislature will consider LD 83, a bill that would require minors (under 18) and adults under guardianship to get the written consent of a parent or legal guardian in order to obtain an abortion. If this feels like a rerun, that’s because it is–legislators defeated a version of the bill in 2013 and 2011, in part because it’s so out of touch with the way real Maine families work.
Maine already has an adult involvement law, and it works. For over 25 years, Maine’s adult involvement law has encouraged family involvement in a teen’s decision to seek abortion, while providing young people with the guidance and support necessary to evaluate all of the options available. The current law is a bipartisan success story–the result of a compromise between republicans and democrats, backed by organizations that support abortion rights and those that oppose them. Our state’s adult involvement law stands as a national model because it works– it truly protects and respects the health, safety, and dignity of young people. Continue reading
Yesterday, the Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts law that established protected buffer zones around reproductive health centers. This is very disappointing for those of us who believe people should be able to access health care free from harassment and intimidation. The decision holds the protesters’ right to harass and intimidate the public as more important than a person’s right to reproductive health care. The fact that the author of the decision characterizes these protests as “personal, caring, consensual conversations…” demonstrates their lack of understanding of what our patients are up against. Continue reading
Emily Letts, abortion counselor at Cherry Hill Women’s Center in New Jersey
In March, Emily Letts posted a video of her abortion online. Last week, Cosmopolitan magazine ran a story about Emily and her video. Since then, the video has gone viral and Emily has received lots of attention, both positive and negative.
I was surprised when I watched Emily’s video, even though I’ve been doing family planning work for over ten years. I guess some part of me had internalized anti-choice messages. My response to Emily’s video was, “Wow, really? That’s it?”
The whole procedure took just a few minutes and didn’t seem that different from other gynecological procedures I’ve experienced. I wondered whether Emily’s abortion was unusual. To find out more, I discussed the video with Kate Gawler, LPN who serves as the Director of Abortion Care Services at Maine Family Planning. Continue reading
This piece, by Kate Brogan, our VP of Public Policy, originally ran in the Portland Press Herald, as a “Maine Voices” column.
As I go to work at Maine Family Planning, I am forced to pass by protesters and their signs. One sign in particular always catches my eye: “Adoption is a Loving Option.” This one echoes the theme of this year’s national March for Life, “Adoption: A Noble Decision.”
Women considering abortion are urged by anti-choice protesters to continue their pregnancies so their children may be adopted because “hundreds of thousands are waiting in line for adoption – caring men and women who long to be called by the precious words ‘Mommy’ and ‘Daddy,’ ” to quote U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, speaking at the 2014 March for Life in Washington, D.C.
This view of adoption is simplistic, unrealistic and value-laden. Continue reading
Every year, during the 40 Days protests, we invite our family planning and abortion care patients to counter the lies outside out gates by sharing their own personal truths. This year, we got some powerful comments about the picketers, the Maine Family Planning staff, and the importance of preserving reproductive rights.
Their powerful comments speak for themselves and don’t really need any elaboration.
This week, we share these three with you:
When we chose the theme Turning Lemons into Lemonade for our Pledge-a-Picketer campaign this year, we were thinking about the protesters at our gates as the lemons and the support for our services as lemonade. It makes perfect sense and it’s a catchy title.
This week, as I was reading through some of the comments we’ve received from our patients, I was struck by a totally different way that the lemons into lemonade theme can be used in relation to our work.
Reflecting on the stories our patients shared, I realized that when we provide family planning and abortion care services we are helping the women and families who rely on us to turn the lemons that life presents them into the lemonade of a brighter, healthier future.
I’d like to share two very different patient experiences – in their own words – to illustrate what I mean. Here’s the first one: Continue reading
Note: This blog post first ran in March 2013. We are re-posting it because the information is relevant to our current Pledge-a-Picketer campaign.
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 Maine Family Planning, 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
This piece originally ran in the Bangor Daily News.
This week marked the start of “40 Days,” an anti-abortion protest that is held all over the United States at this time of year. Every day for about six weeks, patients, visitors and staff of Maine Family Planning in Augusta will pass a gauntlet of protesters at our front gates.
These protesters wave rosaries, sing hymns and pray loudly. They gather near the gates, trying to slow down the cars approaching our parking lot. They make no distinction between patients who are coming in for an annual exam, to pick up their birth control supplies, or to get life-saving breast and cervical health screenings. Worst of all, the protesters will display and carry signs spreading lies about abortions and the women who have them.
Are these protesters interested in knowing the facts surrounding abortion? I suspect not.
Based on what I’ve seen of their tactics in my 25-plus years doing family planning work, they don’t want to hear the truth. However, Bangor Daily News readers deserve better. They deserve to know the real story of abortion in our country and our state. Continue reading
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… Continue reading