Category Archives: Abortion Care

Increasing Medicaid Coverage for Women is Good for Families

The following piece ran in the Lewiston Sun Journal on Sunday. We share it here for anyone who may have missed it.

At a rally in January, Gov. Paul LePage stated that outlawing abortion is the solution to Maine’s declining population. Apparently, he believes that forcing women to have children they are not prepared to parent is key to a prosperous future.

This is an interesting approach, considering the many ways LePage has made it harder for low-income women to get the help they may need to raise their children – ending Medicaid eligibility for more than 14,000 low-income parents, setting time limits for TANF, cutting General Assistance funding, and vetoing an increase in the minimum wage.

Gov. LePage’s policies have made this state a much more difficult place for poor women to raise their children.

When women are forced to have children they are not emotionally or financially prepared to raise, the negative effects multiply through the years, both for families and for Maine. Poverty, hunger and the resultant unhealthy family settings have lifelong repercussions for a child’s health and his or her ability to learn and thrive. Families who have children resulting from unintended pregnancy are far more likely to rely on Medicaid and other social supports, at great cost to our taxpayers.

Most Mainers agree that it is best for everyone when babies are born into healthy, stable families that are ready and able to give them what they need. How do we do this? Continue reading

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… Continue reading

What I Did Over My Summer Vacation: SCOTUS Edition

The Supreme Court of the United States is officially on summer vacation, after issuing a number of rulings (and non-rulings), that have social, economic and health implications for Mainers and for the country. A few of these are of particular interest to the Reproductive Justice movement.

So what happened this week, and what does it mean? Continue reading

Abortion in Maine — Protecting Access to a Safe, Legal Procedure

This week, we feature testimony given at a Judiciary Committee hearing regarding LD 1339 and LD 760 – bills that would restrict access to abortion in Maine.

These bills will come up for a vote this week, please call your legislators and ask them to reject any further restrictions to abortion services.

My name is Ruth Lockhart and I am Executive Director and Co-Founder of Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center in Bangor. We are one of only three public centers where a woman seeking an abortion in Maine can go.

I’m going to share with you how abortion care works at Mabel Wadsworth Center to dispel any myths or misconceptions about how are abortions are provided for women in Aroostook, Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Waldo and Washington counties. Continue reading

Exposed — The 5 Most Common Lies about Abortion

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

Think it Can’t Happen in Maine? Think Again.

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

My Mom, the Abortion Care Nurse

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

Christians, Judgment & Abortion Care

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.

Continue reading

Abortion and Motherhood — The Real, True Story

“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

Running the Gauntlet — Can You Imagine It?

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?

Continue reading