Category Archives: Uncategorized

Trump’s Dangerous Budget Proposal

Trump budget

The Trump Administration’s budget proposal would harm poor and low-income people.

The Trump Administration’s budget proposal released yesterday is an affront to women and families nationwide. It targets abortion providers like Maine Family Planning by prohibiting any Health and Human Services funding, including Medicaid and family planning funding, from going to any clinic or health care facility that also offers abortion services. While the move is unsurprising, it is no less unsettling. This is an ideological attack that, if implemented, will only erect additional barriers to health care for poor, low-income, and vulnerable people.

Furthermore, President Trump’s budget makes harmful cuts to a wide range of safety net programs; allocates no money to teen pregnancy prevention while promoting ineffective abstinence-only sex ed; and flat funds the Title X family planning program, leaving health care providers like Maine Family Planning without adequate resources to serve our communities. We oppose this damaging blueprint and will do all we can to ensure its misguided priorities never see the light of day.

Fighting Forward, Together

abortion rights training

The inaugural group of Fighting Forward trainees!

Last weekend, 12 dedicated women joined Maine Family Planning staff for the inaugural, intensive Fighting Forward Abortion Advocacy Training. While hundreds of Mainers participated in anniversary Women’s Marches and related events, our spirit of resistance to attacks on reproductive rights took a less visible but equally important form. The impetus for the training was a desire to honor 45 years since Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in the United States, while addressing the stubborn existence of social, medical, and political stigma that pushes meaningful access to abortion out of reach for too many. After an intensive year of ongoing mobilization and passionate lobbying of elected officials—something that is new for many and familiar to others—there are Mainers who are ready to deepen their skill sets and diversify tactics. We recognize that even though a majority of Americans support abortion rights in most instances, mystification remains about the procedure itself, the realities of access, and how to deeply engage with others about a topic so shrouded in stigma.

Fighting Forward set out to demystify the clinical procedure and marry this new understanding with exercises that foreground values-based conversations supported by data from reputable sources. Our inaugural class jumped right in, sharing their most pressing questions and the rhetoric they’ve found most difficult to engage, as well as how their personal values and views around abortion may have shifted over time. This inspiring, inter-generational group of women, who hailed from communities including Fairfield, Portland, Belfast, and Orono, modeled how to bring the raging spirit of a march to the quiet, daily conversations that shift our language, thinking, and actions away from stigma and toward a world where rights to bodily autonomy and self-determination are actualized. We couldn’t be more proud to play a role in helping champions of reproductive rights find their voices.

Saturday was just the first of several trainings Maine Family Planning staff will complete this year with cohorts across the state. Our goal is to foster a statewide network of informed, skilled, and confident abortion rights advocates who are prepared to instigate culture shifts and push for significant legislative victories on reproductive rights. Following this first session, we can already feel how much more powerful our passion becomes when we make investments in each other’s’ leadership and channel our energies effectively. We’re digging in for the long haul, and we can’t wait for you to join us!

Sign up for our March 2nd Fighting Forward training in Belfast today: https://goo.gl/forms/Wht4bcptOOark4XJ2

Misgendering Your Transgender Friend

Imagine a scenario: you’re talking to your friend, when suddenly, you use the wrong pronoun. It makes things awkward and you have no idea how to proceed. The question is: What do you do when you misgender a trans person?

Your first reaction may to be to freak out and apologize repeatedly. Don’t! This could manipulate your friend into feeling guilty,   something they shouldn’t have to feel. In order not to overreact, you might feel inclined to ignore the mistake and move on. This could also be problematic and lead to your friend thinking that you don’t care.

But you do care about your friend. You didn’t mean to misgender them, and you want them to know that. The response is simple: apologize once, correct yourself by using the right pronoun (most important—this reaffirms their identity!), and continue with the conversation. This approach lets them know that you realize that you made a mistake, without making them feel like they’re an inconvenience to you.

Pronoun slip-ups happen to everyone. The most important thing is that you let your trans friend know that you support them 100%. Practice their pronouns so you get them right next time!

This is a guest post by Adam, one of Maine Family Planning’s student interns.  Adam is pursuing a degree in creative writing. When he’s not writing for class or for Maine Family Planning’s blog, he’s petting cats.

B.Y.O.R. (Be Your Own Receptionist)!

Things I do from my phone:

  • Keep in touch with friends and family
  • Listen to podcasts (and Beyoncé)
  • Check my bank account balance
  • Look up driving directions
  • …Basically everything important

And now:

  • Schedule appointments with Maine Family Planning (!!!)

We’re excited to announce that online scheduling is now available at MaineFamilyPlanning.org.

While current patients have been able to schedule online (using the Patient Portal) for a few years, new patients have always had to call us or come to a clinic to make an appointment. Now, anyone can make an appointment online, day or night.

Why schedule online?

Privacy

Need to make an appointment but don’t want people around you to overhear your concerns? We know it can be tough to find time and privacy to call us during business hours, and while nothing freaks us out, chances are you may not want your coworkers, family, or strangers in the coffee shop to know about your birth control method or that you think you might have a UTI.

Convenience

You can schedule your visit using a computer, smartphone, or tablet whenever and wherever works best for you. Waiting in line at the grocery store and just remembered you need your next Depo shot? Only have a couple minutes during your lunch break to schedule an STD test? Did you put off calling about your annual exam until after our offices close? No worries—our website is always open.

Peace of Mind

We know what it’s like to feel anxious about something going on with our bodies. We also know the relief that comes with knowing you’ve scheduled time to figure things out with a healthcare provider. With online scheduling available 24/7, you don’t have to lose sleep worrying about when you’ll be able to get a pregnancy test or see a Nurse Practitioner about that weird bump you just found.

How it works:  Continue reading

Dreaming of Sand and Surf?

It’s SPRING BREAK season! Which means….

You’re probably thinking about this:sun tanning

Instead of this:meetingAnd you’d much rather be here:

hawaii scene 2Instead of here:desk

If you are dreaming of sand and surf, you can support Maine Family Planning by purchasing raffle tickets for an all-inclusive trip to Hawaii. Check out all the details here.

Tickets are $100 each and we will be drawing the winner at our Spring Soiree on May 7th at the Portland Country Club. Only 145 tickets will be sold, so don’t wait to get your ticket.

Buy a raffle ticket online!

Or print & send this flyer to MFP by mail with your check!

Connie Adler, MD: A Physician of Courage, Conscience and Compassion

Dr Adler 1Maine Family Planning is proud to congratulate Connie Adler, MD, who will be inducted into The Maine Women’s Hall of Fame on March 19th. Honorees are women whose work has had a significant, enduring positive impact on the lives of women in Maine.

Dr. Adler certainly fits the bill; as one colleague stated in his nomination letter:

“She is a force of nature who has let nothing stand in her way in her quest for better health care for the women of Maine.  In her practice of medicine she has worked tirelessly to provide access to quality women’s health services for all women regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or co-existing mental health or substance abuse problems.

It has been Adler’s mission to promote recognition that the care of women must include the pursuit of reproductive rights, contraceptive choice, and prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault—and that healthcare must be accessible to all Mainers, regardless of where they live or how much they make. As another colleague notes:

Dr. Adler’s advocacy in promoting women’s healthcare has made a significant difference for Maine women that spans beyond a generation.  Her work includes all levels of women’s care, from counseling on nutrition and maternal health for pregnant women, working on issues that educate the community on domestic violence to bringing global perspectives on women’s healthcare.Continue reading

You’re Invited! Join us for Women’s Day at the State House

Maine Women’s Day at the State House is coming up on Thursday, January 21st, and we’d love for you to join us! With the start of the 2016 Legislative Session, it’s important to make sure legislators, press, and allies are paying attention to how policy decisions affect Maine women. Join us to help raise the visibility of Maine women, learn more about policies that will impact our lives during this session, and strengthen your skills to advocate on the issues that matter most to you.

Thursday, January 21, 2016
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Maine State House & Cross Office Building, Augusta
Please wear RED!
Register here: http://bit.ly/womensday2016

Need more reasons to join us for Women’s Day at the State House? Here are our top three:  Continue reading

Taking Care of You: MFP’s Holiday Survival Guide

mittens coffeeNo matter which of the many winter holidays you do (or do not) celebrate, chances are that you’ll spend some amount of time traveling, celebrating, or visiting with friends and family. While this can be a joyful time of year, it can also be a difficult, stressful, or just plain hectic season for many.

Our expertise is in sexual and reproductive health, but the overall health and well-being of Mainers is ultimately our highest priority. There are lots of ways to take care of yourself and your loved ones during the holidays—here are just a few tips from us.

If you are traveling and forgot to pack your birth control:

If you’re traveling (almost) anywhere in Maine and need to refill your birth control, pick up emergency contraception, or stock up on condoms, we can help. With 18 clinics across the state (plus our partners at Planned Parenthood), there’s likely a Family Planning center near you. Most clinics offer same-day and next-day appointments, and you don’t have to be a current patient to use our services. Let there be peace on Earth AND peace of mind this season!

If you are LGBTQ and not out to (or supported by) your family:

woman headphones_cropped

The holidays can be a stressful time for LGBTQ people whose families either don’t know about or don’t respect their identities. Take care of yourself by staying in touch with friends or other supportive people who respect your identity. Remember that it’s okay to take time and space for yourself–escaping to a quiet room or going for a walk can be good ways to remove yourself from stressful situations. You may also want to practice answering questions from family and friends–“I don’t really want to talk about that right now—is there any more pie?” is a perfectly acceptable answer!  If you’re a parent or caring adult in an LGBTQ person’s life, check out The Parents Project for information and resources.

If you feel alone and need someone to talk to:  Continue reading

Standing Up for Equal Access to Abortion

In 1977, the Hyde Amendment barred the use of federal funds to pay for most abortions. While states are free to use their own funds to cover abortion, Maine does not. As a result, MaineCare covers pregnancy-related care for women who choose to carry a pregnancy to term, but withholds coverage from eligible women who decide to have an abortion. The result is a significant coverage gap for those insured by MaineCare.

affordable abortion RJ poster

Image courtesy of Repeal Hyde Art Project

Maine Family Planning believes that every person–regardless of income –should be able to make the decisions that are best for their health and their family. That’s why today we joined with the American Civil Liberties Union, Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center, and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in filing a lawsuit challenging Maine’s prohibition of MaineCare coverage for abortion care. We are proud to take this step toward ensuring fair and equal health care access for all Mainers.

The Legal Landscape in Maine

Although Maine public policy expressly prohibits restricting a woman’s “exercise of her private decision to terminate a pregnancy,” and Maine’s Constitution guarantees that all people have the right to pursue liberty, safety, and equality, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services has been withholding insurance coverage for abortion for decades.

At its core, the prohibition on abortion coverage is discriminatory. Continue reading

#GiveDifferently for #GivingTuesday

Maine Family Planning is getting ready for #GivingTuesday and we need your support!

It’s that time of year again; the weather is getting colder and for many of us in Maine that means breaking out the shovels and snow tires. It also means that the holiday season is approaching quickly. While you may be starting to think about holiday shopping lists and hosting family gatherings, Maine Family Planning is getting ready for #GivingTuesday!

giving tuesdayIn case you haven’t heard, the goal of #GivingTuesday is to create a global day of giving back, celebrating generosity and kindness. The day itself falls on the Tuesday following American Thanksgiving each year. This year #GivingTuesday is on December 1st.

We all know that this time of year can be incredibly hectic so we’ve come up with some ways to #GiveDifferently with Maine Family Planning. Monthly gifts spread your contribution over twelve months, so you don’t spend your holiday bonus all in one place. Giving in someone else’s name makes a great holiday gift, especially for that activist in your life who cares passionately about reproductive rights. There are even ways to contribute while you finish up your holiday shopping with Amazon Smiles and of course, one time gifts make a big difference too!

Continue reading