Category Archives: Parenting

Women Considering Adoption Deserve a Thoughtful Look at Their Choices

This piece, by Kate Brogan, our VP of Public Policy, originally ran in the Portland Press Herald, as a “Maine Voices” column.

As I go to work at Maine Family Planning, I am forced to pass by protesters and their signs. One sign in particular always catches my eye: “Adoption is a Loving Option.” This one echoes the theme of this year’s national March for Life, “Adoption: A Noble Decision.”

Women considering abortion are urged by anti-choice protesters to continue their pregnancies so their children may be adopted because “hundreds of thousands are waiting in line for adoption – caring men and women who long to be called by the precious words ‘Mommy’ and ‘Daddy,’ ” to quote U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, speaking at the 2014 March for Life in Washington, D.C.

This view of adoption is simplistic, unrealistic and value-laden. Continue reading

Beyond “The Talk” ~ Preventing Teen Pregnancy

In last week’s blog post highlighting Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, we described what the FPA is doing to support Maine educators and students. As the month of May comes to a close, we want to give you – trusted adults, teachers, parents and concerned community members – ideas about how you can help prevent teen pregnancy.

Maybe you’re wondering, “Me?! What can I do?”

Well, there are two words that can start you on your way – listen and talk. Continue reading

Abortion and Motherhood — The Real, True Story

“There aren’t ‘women who have abortions’ and ‘women who have babies’.
Those are the same women at different points in their lives.”
~ Rachel Atkins, PA, MPH

I love this quote. It’s such a great reminder of the vast distance between the truth about abortion in the U.S. and the lies spread by the anti-choice movement.

The anti’s describe women who have abortions as selfish monsters who care only about themselves and their own lives. How are we to reconcile this hatefulness with the fact that 61% of women who have abortions in the U.S. already have at least one child. That’s right – mothers sometimes make the decision to have an abortion. Continue reading

Don’t Have Sex — Because You Will Get Pregnant & Die

Coach teaches a sex ed class in the movie "Mean Girls"

Last week, we talked about the high teen pregnancy and STD infection rates in the U.S. compared to other developed countries. It turns out that differing societal attitudes towards teen sexuality is the biggest factor accounting for the huge gap. European parents and other adults are much more accepting of teen sexuality and teens consider it the norm to take precautions when engaging in sexual activity.

Quite different from the “sex is bad” approach so common in this country.

Aside from changing our entire country’s cultural norms around sexuality, what can we do to reduce teen pregnancy and STD infection rates? Continue reading

What About the Boys?

Continuing our focus on National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, this week’s post is written by one of FPA’s Pregnancy Prevention Coordinators.

I’ll never forget it. Standing in front of a hundred or so eighth-grade boys, I asked them where they got their information about sex and staying healthy.  After an uncomfortable silence, one brave soul shrugged and said “Mostly…from the streets.”

The ‘streets’ he was referring to are lined with oak trees and sidewalks.  But, I knew what he meant. I had been asked to speak to that group of boys because the principal discovered an underground condom ring going on within the school.  Yep, that’s right.  Some entrepreneurial boy realized he could make good money selling condoms to his classmates.  The same condoms, mind you, that can be legally obtained in about ten different stores in their town.  This makes you wonder…

When I asked them if they had these conversations with an adult at home, they slowly shook their heads.  A few gave me a patronizing smile with that “You’re outta your mind, lady.” look.  I have posed this question to students before, so I wasn’t surprised by their reaction.  But, something about that particular instance has always stuck with me.  Continue reading

What are You Doing for the ‘Jessie’ in Your Life?

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month.

Here at the FPA, every day is devoted to the prevention of teen and unplanned pregnancy. Our clinical staff, prevention staff, legislative advocacy staff, and the administrative staff that keep the business side of things going are all committed to helping women and men plan their families and avoid unwanted pregnancy.

But what about all the folks who aren’t doing teen pregnancy prevention work as part of their day job — is there anything the average person can do?

By way of answering that question, I’d like to tell you about Jessie.

Continue reading

Tackling Teen Pregnancy in Rockland Maine

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

A Back-to-School Suggestion — Be Kind

Another summer break is coming to a close and in the next couple of weeks hordes of eager learners, from preschoolers to college students, will be heading back to school. And, of course, all of their teachers and professors have been preparing their classrooms and lesson plans.

Going back to school, at whatever grade level, is a BIG deal.  So big, that I felt compelled to say something about it in this week’s On the Front Lines.

But I just wasn’t sure what to say.  I could discuss the importance of comprehensive sexuality education. Or I could write a piece about the sexual development of young people, with a link to our resources for parents. I just wasn’t sure what would be most helpful to our readers.

My problem was solved the moment I came across this — Continue reading

When Parents and Teens Can’t Talk About Sex

After reading last week’s post of On the Front Lines, a colleague asked me a couple of really good, pointed questions.

Wasn’t I putting a lot of pressure on parents — telling them they had to get comfortable talking about sex with their teens? What about those times when parents and teens just can’t talk about sexuality, for whatever reason?

He raised such good points, I decided they were worthy of further discussion. Continue reading