Category Archives: Family Planning Association of Maine

After Cyber Monday Comes #GivingTuesday

Reproductive Justice Champions support a wide range of Maine Family Planning services and programs.

Tomorrow, November 28, is Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving that offers folks the opportunity to support their favorite charities amidst holiday shopping and deal-scoring bonanzas.

We hope you’ll participate in this altruistic activity by donating to Maine Family Planning. In particular, we urge you to consider our Reproductive Justice Champion monthly giving program. By committing to a monthly donation, you help us provide comprehensive reproductive health care to women, men, and teens across Maine. You help us empower teens to make healthy decisions through our Best Practices sexuality education curriculum. You help us advocate for your rights in Augusta, in Washington, D.C., and in courtrooms. You help transgender Mainers, rural Mainers, low-income Mainers… You get the picture.

And we need your support now more than ever. With a hostile administration in Washington, D.C., family planning providers like us have a target on our backs. From affordable birth control to abortion access, the Trump administration is waging a multi-pronged attack on women’s health care. Loyal friends like like you help us fight back.

Donate here.

We’re Still Fighting

#ImStillFighting

I’m Still Fighting image via Physicians for Reproductive Health

Today, we celebrate Maine’s historic vote to expand Medicaid (MaineCare). The margin of victory (59 to 41 percent, as of this writing) and geographic distribution of votes (supportive communities stretched from towns bordering Canada all the way to southern Maine) clearly demonstrate that Mainers believe access to health care shouldn’t depend on where you live or how much money you earn. Tuesday’s vote means more low-income folks will benefit from a full range of critical health care services, including family planning and reproductive care, and thus brings us closer to realizing our overlapping goals of reproductive and economic justice.

But we’re still fighting. 

First, we must ensure that our elected officials act on the will of the people. Already, Gov. Paul LePage (R) is snubbing Maine voters, declaring Wednesday that his administration will block the expansion until the program “has been fully funded by the Legislature at the levels [the Department of Health and Human Services] has calculated.”

That’s not right—or legal.

According to Talking Points Memo:

Mainers for Health Care, the organization behind the campaign to expand Medicaid, said despite LePage’s bluster, he can’t stop the expansion train without violating state law.

“Under the state constitution, 45 days after the legislature reconvenes, Medicaid expansion will become the law of the state,” the group’s spokesman David Farmer told TPM. “According to the statute, the Department of Health and Human Services has 90 days after that to submit an implementation plan to the federal government, and the implementation itself will take place in mid-August of 2018.”

As Maine Family Planning community organizer Cait Vaughan reminded supporters in an email today, “we’ll need all of you to show up and make sure state legislators follow through on Medicaid expansion.”

Meanwhile, we must remember that until women can use their Medicaid coverage for all the medical services they need—including abortion—this victory remains incomplete. And so we’ll continue our battle to overturn the state’s ban on Medicaid coverage for abortions.

We’re fighting because the right to an abortion is meaningless if low-income or rural women can’t access one.

It’s appropriate that we participated today in the #ImStillFighting “tweetstorm” organized by Physicians for Reproductive Heath, marking one year since Election Day 2016—a year that has seen a wholesale assault on reproductive rights, the family planning safety net, and women’s health care.

See why other, like-minded organizations are Still Fighting, below:


New Abortion Data: A Clarion Call to Family Planning Advocates

On Thursday, the Guttmacher Institute released a new analysis published in the American Journal of Public Health, giving insight into US abortion trends.

The data is fascinating and Maine Family Planning views it as a clarion call to continue and expand the work we’re doing in our clinics, in court, and in our communities.

The report from Guttmacher shows an overall decline in the US abortion rate between 2008-2014. Despite the 25 percent decline, abortion is still a common procedure in this country; one in four American women will have an abortion by age 45. Deep disparities remain among different demographic groups, with abortion increasingly concentrated among poor women and a long history of racism and discrimination contributing to differences in the abortion rate according to race and ethnicity.

These findings underscore the important work Maine Family Planning is doing to increase contraceptive use and abortion access around the state, as well as how much is at stake amid political attacks on reproductive health care nationwide. We see a declining abortion rate as a victory only if it is rooted in advances in comprehensive, affordable reproductive health care and the political and social conditions to support reproductive self-determination for everyone. Unfortunately, at least some of the recent decline can be attributed to politically-motivated & medically unnecessary state-level abortion restrictions that prevent women in many states from accessing care when they need it. Additionally, it’s clear that quality health care services remain financially out of reach for some Americans, rendering them unable to effectively plan pregnancies. As the hostile Trump administration continues its assault on health care, we fear these factors will only become more pronounced.

Our focus remains on empowering women to avoid unintended pregnancies via highly effective contraceptive methods, to be able to access abortion when they need to, and to make decisions based on their own visions of the families they want. Maine Family Planning is battling on many fronts to achieve full access to reproductive freedom: From offering comprehensive prevention programming in schools and long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) in our clinics; to providing innovative abortion care via telemedicine; to fighting in court to expand Medicaid coverage for abortions and overturn Maine’s burdensome law prohibiting nurse practitioners from providing abortion; to working with like-minded groups on the upcoming Yes on 2 vote to make Maine the first state to expand Medicaid by referendum. Guttmacher’s latest statistics prove that our work remains vital and necessary.

Thanks for making Pledge-A-Picketer 2016 a Success!

Through your contributions and pledges, we raised $10,018.00 during our 2016 Pledge-A-Picketer campaign.

PAP 10k edited

This came in the form of 50 individual contributions and 20 pledges. Our individual gifts ranged from $3.00 to $1,000.00, with the majority being $25 or less. Pledges of just a few cents per picketer added up quickly , totaling almost half of the full amount raised. This proves that there is strength in numbers and that every dollar goes a long way toward reaching our goals.

We counted 1,105 picketers over the 40 day Pledge-A-Picketer campaign–that’s a whole lot of judgment and intimidation. While there is some relief now that the daily protests have ended, we continue to see picketers at our Augusta office every week. Your continued advocacy and support is crucial to ensuring that patients can access reproductive care all year long.

We are so grateful for your support. Knowing that our friends care about the work we do gives us the strength to pass the picketers’ hateful signs with courage rather than fear. On behalf of our patients and staff, we can’t thank you enough for your generosity.

Carol M. Goetz
Vice President of Development

thank you note DIN

Throwback Thursday: One Year Ago

It’s been almost a year since the Christian Civic League announced that their prayers were the reason Maine Family Planning’s 2015 Pledge-A-Picketer campaign raised about half of the previous year’s total.   In response, Mike Tipping and Dan Savage went to bat for MFP by spreading the word about the CCL’s outrageous claims, and with your help, we far exceeded our 2015 Pledge-A-Picketer goal.

52k polariodWe are so grateful for your support and for the generosity shown by people around the world. Last year, we raised over $60,000 through almost 1,500 contributions, with an average gift of less than $50. At least one gift came from every one of the 50 states and from as far away as the UK , Thailand, and Australia.

It was an amazing outpouring of love and support for the patients and staff who have to pass the hateful signs and judgmental picketers throughout February and March. We cannot thank you enough.

There’s only a week left for the 2016 Pledge-A-Picketer campaign, but we’re not done raising money to support reproductive health care in Maine. Don’t let the picketers think their judgment, intimidation, and lies have the power to stop us: help us raise $3,000 in the next 7 days. Continue reading

Dreaming of Sand and Surf?

It’s SPRING BREAK season! Which means….

You’re probably thinking about this:sun tanning

Instead of this:meetingAnd you’d much rather be here:

hawaii scene 2Instead of here:desk

If you are dreaming of sand and surf, you can support Maine Family Planning by purchasing raffle tickets for an all-inclusive trip to Hawaii. Check out all the details here.

Tickets are $100 each and we will be drawing the winner at our Spring Soiree on May 7th at the Portland Country Club. Only 145 tickets will be sold, so don’t wait to get your ticket.

Buy a raffle ticket online!

Or print & send this flyer to MFP by mail with your check!

Strength in Numbers

hands heartWe’re about a month into our annual Pledge-A-Picketer campaign, and we want you to know just how much your support adds up. When we say there is Strength in Numbers, it’s because we know that we are stronger together—but this phrase also speaks to the numbers that illustrate how much the work we do counts. We hope you are proud of these numbers too, because your contributions and support make them possible.

  • We offer birth control, STD testing and treatment, cancer screenings, well-woman visits, and LGBTQ-friendly care at 18 family planning centers in Maine. We work with 15 Federally Qualified Health Centers, 4 Planned Parenthood of Northern New England centers, and 3 School-Based Health Centers to provide reproductive health care to 22,000 Mainers.
  • In 2015, there were 3 non-profit, free-standing abortion clinics in Maine. Now that we’ve expanded the availability of medication abortion by using telemedicine technology, there are 19. This makes a huge difference in terms of access to abortion, as 61.3% of Maine’s population lives in rural areas.
  • The teen birth rate in Maine has dropped by almost 50% over the last decade, thanks in part to our work to support evidence-based sexuality education in Maine schools. This year alone, over 1,700 students have received comprehensive sex education as a result of our work with schools.

As of today, we are 2/3rds through the 40 day Pledge-A-Picketer campaign, and 33 supporters have donated $6,205.00. Continue reading

Shame free, Blame free, Empowering: notes from our supporters

signs 6It’s one thing to see signs containing lies, displaying graphic images, and conveying messages intended to frighten our patients and staff once a week, but it’s another thing to be berated by it every day. As strong proponents of reproductive healthcare and a woman’s right to make decisions about her life and her body, we have learned to tune out the messages of hate and anger. The problem is that no matter how strong your resolve, no one can tune it out entirely.

provider support 2To counter the picketers’ dishonest, judgmental signs meant to shame our staff and patients, we like to remind ourselves of all the good that comes from the work being done at our health centers. Reading about the experiences of our patients strengthens our resolve to stand strong in the face of opposition. Hearing why our supporters get involved reminds us that we are not facing the hatred of our opponents alone–and neither are our patients.

We’ve asked donors and supporters to tell us why they stand together with Maine Family Planning, and we’ve received some incredibly supportive messages. We think of these when we see the protesters signs and we remember that there is strength in numbers.

Here are some of our favorites: Continue reading

It Makes Me Angry.

This piece was written by Liz Hays. Liz has been a member of MFP’s Board of Directors for almost 20 years; she first came to Maine Family Planning as a patient in 1983.

When I pass the anti-abortion picketers outside Maine Family Planning, it makes me very angry.

I have been a family planning counselor helping women to go through the decision process to have an abortion. I have supported close friends through the abortion procedure. I have served on the board of Maine Family Planning, helping to ensure that abortion remains a viable option in Maine.

coupleholdinghandsclinicI know the mixed emotional feelings that can accompany an unexpected pregnancy, and how very difficult it can be to make the decision to have an abortion. I also know the relief and peace of mind a woman feels when she knows she can go to a safe, compassionate, high quality medical facility once the decision is made.

A patient has every right to be at the clinic seeking a legal, medical procedure without being subjected to harassment from people who disagree with her decision.  Anti-abortion protesters are entitled to their personal feelings and opinions on abortion, but are not entitled to make another human being feel guilty and traumatized for making the choice that is best for her and her family. Continue reading

There is Strength in Numbers.

Maine Family Planning’s 2016 Pledge-A-Picketer campaign starts today.

Beginning today and continuing for the next 40 days, patients and staff of Maine Family Planning will have to pass through picketers holding grotesque, judgmental signs whenever they come or go from our Augusta health center. Usually these picketers line our entrance only once a week, but from now until March 24th they will be in front of MFP headquarters every day.

These picketers object to our patients’ right to make decisions about their own bodies, families, and lives, and they oppose the hard work that MFP employees do in order to provide safe, confidential, and expert care.

In spite of these picketers—with their signs designed to shame and frighten our patients and staff—we  continue to keep our clinic doors open. We need your support more than ever during this campaign to show patients and staff that they are valued, to keep our clinics safe, and to help us protect reproductive rights and healthcare in Maine.

Support Maine Family Planning’s work by making a pledge of support for every picketer (for example, 10¢ per picketer we see protesting), or by making a one-time gift to our Pledge-A-Picketer campaign. You can also mail your check to:

Maine Family Planning
Pledge-A-Picketer
PO Box 587
Augusta, ME 04332-0587

Watch for updates by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and checking our blog to see how much we are raising and how many picketers we have seen.

We will be posting our total raised on a large banner for our patients and the picketers to see. It may just be a number on a banner, but it represents the strength it takes for patients to pass picketers just to get healthcare, as well as the strength we have when we stand together to protect access to reproductive healthcare in Maine.

Thank you for your support and for making sure the 2016 Pledge-A-Picketer campaign starts strong.

Stand together with Maine Family Planning by making a pledge based on the number of picketers we count or by making a one-time gift to our Pledge-A-Picketer campaign.