Category Archives: Reproductive Rights

Abortion in Maine — Protecting Access to a Safe, Legal Procedure

This week, we feature testimony given at a Judiciary Committee hearing regarding LD 1339 and LD 760 – bills that would restrict access to abortion in Maine.

These bills will come up for a vote this week, please call your legislators and ask them to reject any further restrictions to abortion services.

My name is Ruth Lockhart and I am Executive Director and Co-Founder of Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center in Bangor. We are one of only three public centers where a woman seeking an abortion in Maine can go.

I’m going to share with you how abortion care works at Mabel Wadsworth Center to dispel any myths or misconceptions about how are abortions are provided for women in Aroostook, Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Waldo and Washington counties. Continue reading

EC — Over the Counter, For You & Me

Good news!

Yesterday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order denying the federal government’s request to stay a U.S. District Court judge’s decision to make emergency contraception(EC) available over the counter, without age restrictions. 

What this means for you and me — our sisters, daughters, friends, etc… — is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has to comply with a previous court order and allow emergency contraception such as Plan B to be sold on store shelves, just like aspirin and other over-the-counter medications.

Why is this such good news?
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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

Christians, Judgment & Abortion Care

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.

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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

Running the Gauntlet — Can You Imagine It?

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?

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

Where are the Young Reproductive Rights Activists?

Maine Women's Day 2013Have 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