Category Archives: Reproductive Rights

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

Women Have a Way of “Shutting that Whole Thing Down”

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!

~ Kate

There’s Just One More Thing to Do – Vote!

  • 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

For Me, It All Comes Down to the Judges

I don’t know about you, but the constant patter of election rhetoric has worn me out.

The campaigns, the PACs, our friends on Facebook, they’re all telling us what’s really important about this election:  it’s about The Economy, it’s about The War on Women, it’s about The Environment, it’s about The War on Terror.

Here’s a factor that few of them are talking about, but one that will make a huge difference in all of these issues and so many more — Continue reading

Be Noisy!

This week’s blog post is guest-written by a family planning supporter who shares this message she sent to everyone on her personal email list. It’s an important call to action that I hope you will share with your friends and family — most especially the young women in your life.



Hello All,

The hardest part of this coming election, for me, is the probability that we will, if more social conservatives are elected, lose much of our right to reproductive choice in this country.

I’m not sure that enough of us are thinking about this: access to contraception, birth control, family planning, sex education, reproductive health, abortion rights… and what it was like before Roe vs Wade in 1973, when it was hard for the young, the unmarried, the poor, the rural, even married people … to get contraceptive help, much less have an abortion if needed. Abortions were dangerous and hidden, whether you were not married, or already had enough children, or had a life that didn’t work with children, where a child would not be supported, or had decided not to have children at all.

Whatever your reason, you were trapped, in a situation that would affect the rest of your life and a society that would not help you.

I am afraid that many young women don’t realize how serious this threat is, that the far right has been chipping away at family planning with hostile legislation in many states, and succeeding in making it harder get contraceptives, and more and more difficult to have a safe early abortion.

Many men think it is none of their business, or not as important as the other heavy issues we are dealing with. But access to contraception, and safe abortion if that fails, is crucial to quality of life for women, the children they have, the men that care about them, their families and communities.

It matters to the whole country, in health and savings, in education and ability to earn a living, in people being better able to take care of themselves.

Please be noisy about this issue before the election, and pass this message on to whoever you can. Don’t let us lose our family planning clinics and access to reproductive choice.

Thank you,
Beedy

“Legitimate Rape” — The Real Agenda

By now, you’ve probably heard the astonishing comments about rape and abortion made by Congressman Todd Akin (R-Missouri).

Akin, a long-time opponent of abortion rights, is running for the U.S. Senate in Missouri.  When asked on local TV about whether he thinks women who have been raped should be able to access abortion, Akin said, “It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

That’s right. According to Representative Akin, a woman’s body can tell the difference between sperm from a rapist and sperm from consensual sex, and can “shut that whole thing down.”  Which means, of course, if a woman says she became pregnant as a result of rape, she must be lying. And if you’re trying to outlaw abortion, there’s no need to provide for an exception for rape survivors, because survivors of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant.

Politicians of all persuasions have expressed outrage at Akin’s statements. And they’re right. This is outrageous.

But here’s what’s really troubling — Akin didn’t just make this stuff up on his own.  When you look at what’s happened in Congress over the past two years, you’ll see that Todd Akin isn’t the renegade crackpot his party is making him out to be, he’s in the mainstream of the conservative majority in Congress. Continue reading

Because the 1950’s Was Such a Great Decade for Women

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

One of the Best Organizations You’ve Never Heard Of…

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

And the Word of the Week is…

Vagina!

Well, it’s been nearly impossible to ignore the happenings in Michigan over the past week.  But just in case you missed it, here’s a recap.

Last week, the leadership of the Michigan House of Representatives rushed through a bill described as the most restrictive abortion bill in the country. The bill would restrict access to abortions and heavily regulate clinics that provide them, likely causing most of them to close.

Michigan Representative Lisa Brown spoke against the bill. She argued that her Jewish faith allowed for therapeutic abortions when the mother’s life is in danger without regard to length of pregnancy. “I have not asked you to adopt and adhere to my religious beliefs. Why are you asking me to adopt yours?” she said.

In concluding her speech Lisa Brown noted, “Finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no.'”

And that’s when things got really interesting! Continue reading

Election 2012 — Why It’s Crucial for Choice & What You Can Do About It

If ever there was a time when the outcome of an election matters for Mainers who care about reproductive rights, this is it! For two major reasons.

This November, voters in Maine will be asked to make a choice for almost all of our elected officials  — President, U.S. Senators & Representatives and State Senators & Representatives. That’s right, our ballot will include all of those folks. That’s the first reason to get out and vote for choice this fall.

Here’s the second reason. Continue reading