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
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.
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
I just read a wonderful article about teen sexual health, written by former U.S. Surgeon General, Jocelyn Elders. In the piece, Dr. Elders discusses adolescent development and makes a case for universal access to contraceptive care for teens and age-appropriate, comprehensive sexuality education for children of all ages.
Early in the article, Dr. Elders makes a bold statement. She says, “efforts to prevent teens from having sex have been largely unsuccessful in stemming sexual activity because teenagers have a hormonal imperative to explore their sexuality.” (emphasis mine)
Whoa! I’ve never heard anyone put it quite so bluntly — hormonal imperative indeed. But Dr. Elders doesn’t stop there; she continues her no-nonsense lesson in adolescent development with the following comments.
In reading the messages that family planning supporters have sent to their state senators and representatives during this legislative session, I’m struck by the many different ways people identify themselves.
The current legislative session has kept the Family Planning Association of Maine and our supporters incredibly busy — communicating with our legislators about bills and budget decisions that will limit access to reproductive health care and reproductive rights for Maine’s women, men, and teens.