Category Archives: Legislative Advocacy

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

Family Planning Matters! Five Reasons to Watch & Share This New Video

What a week it’s been!

Unable to come to an agreement on the budget, the U.S. government shutdown for the first time since 1995.

Despite opposition from conservatives, the new Health Insurance Marketplace opened and millions of uninsured Americans visited healthcare.gov to learn how they might get insurance coverage.

And the Guttmacher Institute released a terrific new video about the importance of Federal Title X Funding for Family Planning services.

Here are five reasons why I believe this new video is very much worth watching all the way through and sharing widely.
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

Increasing Health Coverage for Maine Women & Families

Understanding the many different components of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) can be a daunting task. This week, I’d like to share some important information about federal funds for expanding health coverage.

Thankfully, the Maine Center for Economic Policy and Maine Equal Justice Partners have thoroughly researched this topic and recently published a report on the impact for Maine of accepting federal dollars for health coverage.

The report concludes that:

Maine has an opportunity to cover more people and save millions of dollars currently spent to treat uninsured people in emergency rooms. We can do this by accepting federal dollars to provide health coverage to approximately 69,500 uninsured Mainers. This decision is in the hands of Maine’s legislature and governor. It will have important consequences for Maine’s economy and people.

I encourage you to read the full report. In the meantime, here are some of the main points. 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

Young Women ARE Paying Attention

photo courtesy: wabi.tv

Note: This is the text of a speech given at the Roe v. Wade Anniversary Event held at the State House in Augusta.

I was born in 1987. By the time I even considered becoming sexually active Roe v. Wade had been the law of the land for over 30 years.

I come from a middle class, loving, supportive, pro-choice family.  I tell you this because not only I have had the legal right to choose my entire life but it has also always been an accessible choice for me.

Due to the amazing work of the feminist movements that came before me, I was taught, as a girl, I could do anything.  The things I wanted to be when I grew up ranged from a chemist to a teacher to a pilot.  I was free to be who I am and become what whatever I wanted.

As a young adult I began to understand that there were people in the world that did not have the same rights as me AND I started to realize that there were powerful people and institutions out there who did not want me to have the freedom I felt entitled to. Continue reading

Why This Mom Supports Abortion Rights

Note: This is the text of my talk at the Roe v. Wade 40th Anniversary Event held on January 23, 2013 at the State House in Augusta.

photo credit: www.4000yearsforchoice.com

On January 22nd 1973, I was twelve years old. I am part of the first generation that came of age after the Roe v. Wade decision.

If any mention was made of Roe v. Wade in my Catholic family or my downtown Lewiston neighborhood, I didn’t notice.  My mother was too busy taking care of six children to pay much attention to what was happening beyond our community. And I was busy being a twelve year old.

But five years later – when I got pregnant just one month after high school graduation –  abortion was one of the options I considered. At the time, I wasn’t really aware that the right to a legal abortion was a relatively new option.  As we often do when we’re young, I took my rights for granted. Continue reading

One Thing the November Election Didn’t Change?

The need for vigilance regarding our reproductive rights!

Roe v. Wade 40th AnniversaryThe election is over and our representatives in Augusta and Washington, D.C. are getting to work. But that doesn’t mean we can let our guard down. Anti-family planning and anti-choice legislators continue their efforts to restrict a woman’s right to make her own personal life decisions.

This Salon article describes five U.S. states where anti-choice forces are still trying to deny women their constitutional rights.

We fully expect anti-choice legislators in Maine to submit bills restricting access to reproductive health care and rights during the upcoming legislative session.

Let’s send a message to the people working for us in Augusta that we Mainers cherish our right to make our own personal reproductive health decisions!

Join the FPA and the Maine Choice Coalition for:

Moving Choice Forward for ME
A Celebration & Rally for the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Wednesday, January 23, 2013
9:00 am — noon
Maine State House
230 State Street, Augusta

Hope to see you there!

RSVP on our Facebook event page.

Visit our becauseIhaveachoice Tumblr page

~ Nancy