Over the last few weeks, a series of highly edited “sting” videos have been released in an attempt to discredit Planned Parenthood’s abortion services. These videos, filmed secretly by an anti-choice group, show providers having candid discussions about the collection and donation of fetal tissue. They do not, as anti-choice activists suggest, show Planned Parenthood engaging in any illegal activity.
While Maine Family Planning does not participate in tissue donation programs, we acknowledge that tissue donation is not only a legal practice, but also an ethical one. Fetal tissue can only be donated with the consent of the patient having an abortion, and we support those patients’ right to make that decision. Medical research involving donated human tissue contributes to life-saving medical advances; this research previously enjoyed bipartisan support, and we still believe in its importance.
Despite the very small number of Planned Parenthood affiliates participating in the tissue donation program and the fact that (except in rare cases) federal money is already off limits when it comes to paying for abortion services, anti-choice activists and many republican legislators are using this manufactured controversy to call for a complete elimination of federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Continue reading
During the 40 days of Lent (and every Thursday all year long), Maine Family Planning’s headquarters in Augusta is picketed by protesters who post signs along the street leading to our building. These signs contain lies, display graphic images, and convey messages intended to frighten and shame our patients and staff.
As part of our 2015 Pledge-A-Picketer campaign, we asked donors and supporters to tell us what their signs would express—and we’ve received some incredibly supportive, honest, and creative signs! While the picketers stand outside with dishonest, judgmental signs meant to shame and control, our supporters are sending a message in the lobby of our health center.
Some of our favorites:
“Thanks to all for your commitment to the health of Maine women and girls.” – Lois
“Thanks for your courageous work in keeping women healthy and giving us CHOICES.” –Claire
A few weeks ago, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law which compels California universities to use an “affirmative consent” standard when investigating campus sexual assaults. As Amanda Hess from Slate explains:
This means that during an investigation of an alleged sexual assault, university disciplinary committees will have to ask if the sexual encounter met a standard where both parties were consenting, with consent defined as “an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.” Notice that the words “verbal” or “stone sober” are not included in that definition. The drafters understand, as most of us do when we’re actually having sex, that sometimes sexual consent is nonverbal and that there’s a difference between drunk, consensual sex and someone pushing himself on a woman who is too drunk to resist.
Predictably, there was some concern about whether the state should be involved in the sex lives of college students. Continue reading
Maine Family Planning believes that young people deserve accurate, non-judgmental information about reproductive health, sexuality, and their own bodies. That’s why it’s so important that our clinics offer confidential, affordable services to teens, and that MaineTeenHealth.org and AskMTH (our anonymous, free Q&A service) offer accurate, non-judgmental information. We really enjoy working with young people, and we’ve seen the difference that they can make in their communities, schools, and in the state of Maine.
This month’s Community Spotlight highlights the Maine Youth Action Network (MYAN)’s Annual Youth Leadership Summit, where young people (and adults who work with them) can gain the skills and knowledge they’ll need to create healthier communities. MYAN’s mission is to partner with youth to create change in their communities; this week, we talked with them about the summit so that we could pass this opportunity along to the teens and adults who are engaged in the work of Maine Family Planning.
What is the Maine Youth Leadership Summit? Continue reading