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
We are now 17 days into the “40 Days” protest.
Since February 13th, patients at our Augusta health center have had to pass the gauntlet of protesters just to get their health care needs met.
The 40 Days website claims the protests are dedicated to “prayer and fasting… peaceful vigil… community outreach.” As someone who was raised in a church-going family, those words appeal to me. I have family members who continue to profess their Christian faith by attending church regularly and doing things like visiting nursing home patients and donating money to charity. They live good, solid lives of faith and truth and mercy. They have my utmost respect.
At no time has any one of my family members tried to harass another person into following their beliefs, wielding their religion like a weapon to hurt others.
“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
Imagine if you had to drive by people waving, shaking their rosaries and carrying signs every time you went to your health care provider.
Let’s say you had to pick up your prescription — or it was time for your annual physical — or you needed some testing done.
Can you imagine having to pass a huge sign that says, “Praying for your Safety” as you head into your health care provider’s office?
Can you imagine being judged just for getting health care?
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
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
Have you read the recent TIME magazine article by Kate Pickert about abortion rights in the United States?
Among other things, the article points out that anti-abortion forces have been successful in limiting access to abortion services all over the country. This is not a surprise; Guttmacher recently released a disturbing report about the alarming number of abortion restrictions enacted into law in 2012. Although abortion is still legal, it has become increasingly less accessible to many, many women.
The issue of accessibility is complex and something I will address in future blog posts but today I want to talk about one focus of the TIME article that is personally bugging me. Continue reading
The need for vigilance regarding our reproductive rights!
The 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
The People have spoken and – wow – did they have a lot to say!
In Maine, 76% of all registered voters participated in this election and turnout was very high all across the country. Some results we’re especially happy about are:
- We elected a president who will nominate judges like Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor to any future vacancies on the Supreme Court.
- The incoming U.S. Senate will have a record number of female Senators, including Tammy Baldwin (WI), the first out gay member of the Senate and Mazie Hirono (HI), the first Asian American female Senator;
- Across the country, the reprehensible anti-rape, anti-choice crowd, including Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin (MO), Richard “Gift from God” Mourdock (IN), and Joe “No such thing as life and health of the mother” Walsh (IL), were sent packing.
- Four states – Maryland, Minnesota, Washington and MAINE!!!! – voted to grant gay and lesbian couples equal rights to civil marriage under the law.
- Here in Maine, our pro-choice, pro-family planning majority in the legislature was strengthened, as dozens of new supporters of reproductive justice were elected to represent Maine communities in Augusta. And we elected a strong pro-choice, pro-family planning advocate to the U.S. Senate.
Here at the Family Planning Association of Maine, we are heartened by the strong, clear statement the people of Maine and the people of the U.S. have made with their votes. We are preparing for the days ahead in Augusta and in Washington, knowing that we have you on our side. Onward!
- You’ve received a slew of emails about it…
- You’ve had numerous conversations with friends and family on the topic…
- And you’ve seen countless TV ads regarding the issues and people involved…
Now, there’s just one more thing to do and it’s one of the most important things any of us will do this November.
On Tuesday, November 6th, exercise your constitutional right to vote!
Need more information about the who, what, when, where and why of voting?
Here’s a down-and-dirty guide to Election 2012 online resources: Continue reading