For many people, the New Year is a time to take stock of the past year: a time to measure how far we’ve come, to learn from the challenges we’ve faced, and to make resolutions for the year ahead. 2014 was a pretty eventful year for Maine Family Planning specifically and for reproductive rights generally. So before the ball drops, let’s toast to a year of showing up for reproductive rights and sexual health—and resolve to continue working towards reproductive justice for all. Continue reading
The Health Insurance Marketplace is now open, and Maine Family Planning is here to help you navigate your options. With two Certified Application Counselors (CACs) traveling to our Augusta, Bangor, Belfast, and Lewiston Family Planning sites, finding and enrolling in a plan is easier than ever. Whether you’re enrolling for the first time or simply renewing your current plan, we can help guide you through the process.
While we can make it easier for you to find an affordable plan, we know that there’s still a lot of confusing information out there about health insurance. To help break things down, we’ve put together a list of the top six things we think everyone needs to know—so read up, share with friends and family (and then give us a call)!
Last week, Monica Simpson came to Maine to speak to staff, community partners, and supporters of Maine Family Planning. Simpson is the Executive Director of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, a network of over 80 organizations representing women and communities of color. These organizations have been working to shift the conversation around choice and access by fostering discussion about the ways in which people’s identities, communities, and government intersect to influence women’s ability to make decisions about their own bodies and families. Twenty years ago, they named this framework Reproductive Justice.
Reproductive Justice (RJ) recognizes that the right to have or not have children and the right to parent in safe and healthy environments are human rights–and demands that governments and society ensure that legal, family, and community conditions support these decisions. People need to be able to make these choices and access services safely and affordably–otherwise, they aren’t real choices.
We find enormous value in the Reproductive Justice framework, and we were inspired and invigorated by Monica’s visit.
In many ways, we are working to address some of the primary tenets of Reproductive Justice. Continue reading
Maine Family Planning has always been a place where anyone can access affordable health care, regardless of insurance status. While we do accept both private and public insurance, many of the women and men who seek care with us are uninsured. In fact, we’re often one of the only health centers that those without health insurance can afford to visit.
Reproductive care is essential health care, and the ability to decide whether and when to have children is crucial for economic security, educational attainment, and for safe and healthy families. But as important as reproductive health care is, it’s not the only kind of care that people need. That’s why Maine Family Planning will be available to help our patients and their families enroll in affordable health insurance plans– we want our patients to be covered for ALL of their healthcare needs.
Open enrollment in Marketplace Insurance Plans starts November 15th, 2014 and remains open until February 15, 2015. For those who don’t have health insurance, this is the time to sign up for coverage, and Maine Family Planning is here to help.
Are you registered to vote in November’s election? Here’s why it’s important and here’s what you need to know about registering and voting.
Six weeks from today, on November 4th, Maine voters will elect a Governor, a U.S. Senator, two members of Congress, 35 State Senators, and 151 State Representatives. Every voter will have the opportunity to cast their vote for Governor, U.S. Senator, one member of Congress, one State Senator and one State Representative. Think this election’s not important because you’re not voting for President? Here are some reasons your vote matters this year: Continue reading
On Monday, a sharply divided Supreme Court ruled that family-owned, for-profit corporations may hold religious convictions, and that those corporations may opt out of the federal regulations requiring employer-sponsored health insurance to cover contraceptives, based on the corporation’s religious convictions.
What does this ruling really mean, in practical terms?
Here are some of the most significant repercussions of this decision:
Earlier this week, Pam and I talked about her family planning work experience, among other things.
How did you start working in family planning? I was taking some college classes and volunteering for the sexual assault hotline. This job came up and I applied and I fell into it. It was a great job right from the start.
What kind of work did you do before coming to family planning? In my twenties, I worked as a nurse’s aide in a nursing home. I totally enjoyed that. Then I lived in Portland for a while and worked at the Executive Inn on Congress Street. I enjoyed that too. I just love working with people.
How is working in family planning different from other health care work you’ve done? 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
Four days a week, Don Leighton is the voice on the phone and the welcoming face at the front desk of the FPA’s administrative offices in Augusta. He’s also responsible for keeping patients and staff safe while visiting and working here.
Earlier this month, I chatted with Don for a bit and learned some really interesting things about him. Like the fact that for much of his career, he was holding down a full-time job and operating a greenhouse business with his wife.
What did you do for work before you came to the FPA?
Well, I joined the Coast Guard while I was in high school and I did that for eight years. I was on the Hallowell police department for three years and then I spent twenty-four years as a surgical aide at the Togus VA hospital. I also spent some time as a policeman with the VA security service.
I tried retirement, but that didn’t last very long. I went back into security, working for a private firm. That’s when I started working here; that was in 1998. I’ve always taken care of people. This job melds everything I’ve been doing all my life.
What was security like when you started here? Continue reading
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