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
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
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
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:
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.
C. women in their thirties.
*From: “What You Don’t Know About Unplanned Pregnancy” The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Continue reading
Last week, I wrote about reproductive coercion and the impact it has on women’s health. I mentioned that knowing about this issue can change the way we approach STD and pregnancy prevention work. As promised, here’s a follow-up article about Project Connect: A Coordinated Public Health Initiative to Prevent Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Project Connect has lots of moving parts and I think all of them are terribly exciting. For me, the most wonderful thing about this project is the way it approaches domestic and sexual violence as reproductive health issues. The best way to explain what I mean is to give you a couple of scenarios. Continue reading
With each passing month I work at the FPA, I gain new knowledge of and insights into the lives of women and teen girls. My learning for this month is related to the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault. I am not a stranger to these two facts of life. In my previous work experience, I had many opportunities to work closely with the people and agencies dealing directly with women impacted by both.
I recently met with FPA staff member Kini Tinkham who serves as Program Director of Project Connect. And, as often happens, I learned way more than I expected to.
Project Connect is an FPA-led collaboration of providers and advocates from domestic violence and sexual assault organizations, family planning and school-based health centers, and minority organizations. Now in its third year, Project Connect continues to focus on the goal of creating a coordinated community response to domestic violence and sexual assault, including reproductive coercion.
Here’s where my learning curve banked steeply upward. Reproductive coercion? I knew what the words meant but I didn’t have a full understanding of the scope of the problem and its impact on women’s health. This seemed like a topic worth sharing with our readers. I hope you agree. Continue reading
“I went to family planning when I was a teenager.”
I can’t even tell you how many times and in how many different settings I’ve heard this phrase. There’s the woman who cuts my hair, the physical therapist who helped repair my sore ankle, the dental hygienist who cleans my teeth, and the high school classmate I saw at our reunion.
When I tell them where I work, women love to tell me how important family planning was to them when they were teenagers. Depending on the situation and how well I know the person, I may ask “Why don’t you go to family planning now?”
That’s when I get the look. You know the look — the one that suggests you just said something really, really dumb.
The answers I get, although unique to each woman, are always based on two common assumptions about family planning — two common and false assumptions. Continue reading