Category Archives: Family Planning

Be Noisy!

This week’s blog post is guest-written by a family planning supporter who shares this message she sent to everyone on her personal email list. It’s an important call to action that I hope you will share with your friends and family — most especially the young women in your life.



Hello All,

The hardest part of this coming election, for me, is the probability that we will, if more social conservatives are elected, lose much of our right to reproductive choice in this country.

I’m not sure that enough of us are thinking about this: access to contraception, birth control, family planning, sex education, reproductive health, abortion rights… and what it was like before Roe vs Wade in 1973, when it was hard for the young, the unmarried, the poor, the rural, even married people … to get contraceptive help, much less have an abortion if needed. Abortions were dangerous and hidden, whether you were not married, or already had enough children, or had a life that didn’t work with children, where a child would not be supported, or had decided not to have children at all.

Whatever your reason, you were trapped, in a situation that would affect the rest of your life and a society that would not help you.

I am afraid that many young women don’t realize how serious this threat is, that the far right has been chipping away at family planning with hostile legislation in many states, and succeeding in making it harder get contraceptives, and more and more difficult to have a safe early abortion.

Many men think it is none of their business, or not as important as the other heavy issues we are dealing with. But access to contraception, and safe abortion if that fails, is crucial to quality of life for women, the children they have, the men that care about them, their families and communities.

It matters to the whole country, in health and savings, in education and ability to earn a living, in people being better able to take care of themselves.

Please be noisy about this issue before the election, and pass this message on to whoever you can. Don’t let us lose our family planning clinics and access to reproductive choice.

Thank you,
Beedy

Sound…Camera…Action! Maine Teens Making Movies

This week, we welcome a guest blogger — Faith, a high school student from the greater Bangor area.

A group of twenty-five teens sat in a room, buzzing with excitement at the chance to voice their opinion. In public, the topic they were discussing would cause some awkward stares, hushed voices, and very quiet teenagers.

Sexual health is one of those topics that is rarely discussed seriously, but is incredibly important to be informed about. When I was given the chance to educate parents and  teens, I – along with many others – jumped on it.

I’m Faith, a teen heavily involved with a group called Project AWARE. Project AWARE is a non-profit organization based in Southern Maine, whose goal is to empower and educate youth by giving them the opportunity to make movies or videos on very important topics in life.

The Family Planning Association of Maine contracted with Project AWARE to help them create a 10-20 minute movie on teen sexual health, along with four one-to-two-minute videos, called scenarios.

This long journey to create the movie began last December. Continue reading

It’s August 1st — Is Your Birth Control Co-Pay History?

photo credit: www.wearewomenmarch.net

August 1, 2012 — The date is significant for women and their families throughout the United States.

Today, an important provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) goes into effect.

As of today all new private health insurance plans must cover women’s preventive health services without a co-pay.

What preventive services does this include? Continue reading

Because the 1950’s Was Such a Great Decade for Women

Last week the conservative majority of a U.S. House subcommittee voted to completely eliminate the federal Title X Family Planning Program, cutting nearly $300 million in funding. They also voted to cut $85 million from the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and increase funding for abstinence-only education by $15 million.

Seems kind of crazy, right? Unfortunately, it’s been crazy times for women’s health care and reproductive rights in this country for a couple of years now. And the lunacy continues.

We’ve got people saying low-income women shouldn’t have access to birth control and people arguing that preventive care for women shouldn’t be covered by insurance. These are the same folks fighting against birth control coverage in the Affordable Care Act.

The recent subcommittee vote is merely political posturing since the Senate is sure to reject the proposed funding cuts. The vote to cut all funding for family planning is another in a long line of actions designed to… well, I’m not quite sure what they’re designed to do but I have a hunch.

I’ve made a list of what I think these conservative legislators may be trying to achieve with their actions. Let me know what you think. Continue reading

One of the Best Organizations You’ve Never Heard Of…

Last week, I shared this cool video from the Gates Foundation as a way to highlight the impact of family planning efforts in developing countries. An astute On the Front Lines reader posted a comment in which she mentioned Pathfinder International.

You’ve never heard of Pathfinder International? Until I started working at the FPA, I hadn’t either. But I’m so glad to have learned about this amazing organization, with roots right here in New England.

It’s not a surprise that many people here in the U.S. don’t know about Pathfinder. Even their website acknowledges this with the comment, “We’re often unseen.”

How does an international organization that’s been around since 1957, works in over 20 countries, collaborates with more than 200 local partner organizations, and employs over 850 people remain relatively unknown even among advocates and supporters of family planning in this country? Continue reading

Where’s the Controversy in Saving Lives?

This week, On the Front Lines offers readers an international perspective on family planning.

On Wednesday, July 11th, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.K. Department for International Development hosted the London Summit on Family Planning, with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.N. Population Fund.

The Summit’s main objectives are to renew global commitments to family planning, make preventive reproductive health initiatives a top priority, increase access to contraceptives and diminish barriers to family planning services for women and girls in the world’s poorest countries. Continue reading

Good News for Mainers — Supreme Court Upholds ACA

Just in time for the July 4th holiday, there was good news coming out of Washington last week!

On June 28, the Supreme Court upheld almost all of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This decision means that tens of millions of Americans who are currently uninsured will have access to comprehensive health insurance coverage, either through Medicaid or private insurance.

Here at the FPA, we’re thrilled with the Supreme Court decision because the ACA includes several provisions that are critical to the reproductive health of Maine women, teens, and young adults.  These include: Continue reading

Knocked Up — Twenty-Somethings & Unplanned Pregnancy

Katherine Heigl and Leslie Mann in a scene from the movie "Knocked Up"

Here’s a quiz for you.*

Since the 1990s the rate of teen pregnancy in the United States has:
A. declined by about a third.
B. stayed about the same.
C. increased by a third.

The group of unmarried women in the U.S. most likely to have used an effective method of birth control the last time they had sex is:
A. teenagers.
B. women in their twenties.
C. women in their thirties.

The group with the highest number of unplanned pregnancies in the United States is:
A. women in their twenties.
B. teenagers.
C. women in their thirties.

*From: “What You Don’t Know About Unplanned Pregnancy”  The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Continue reading

A Healthier America — 8 Things You Can Do

April 2-8, 2012 is National Public Health Week.

Since 1995, the first week of April has been designated as a time to focus on critical public health issues with the goal of helping people live longer, happier, healthier lives.

The main themes for the National Public Health Week 2012 are:

  • Active Living and Healthy Eating
  • Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs
  • Communicable Diseases
  • Reproductive and Sexual Health
  • Mental & Emotional Well-Being

It’s so good to see a national public health campaign discuss reproductive and sexual health as critical services in such a no-nonsense manner!

Why is the issue of reproductive and sexual health an important public health issue? Continue reading