Category Archives: Women’s Health

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

My Mom, the Abortion Care Nurse

Our guest blogger reflects on having a mother who works as an abortion care nurse.

My mother didn’t always provide abortion care.

For decades, she was a nurse at the local hospital, providing care in both the Pediatric and Labor & Delivery units.  She dressed in kid-friendly scrubs, covered with happy cartoon animals and bright splashes of color. She would often bring home crayon drawings that her young patients made for her.

At home, my mom maintained an extensive collection of first aid goodies. Anytime there was a bee-sting, bloody knee, tummy bug or sore throat, my dad would exclaim “Call the nurse!”– and there would be my mom, with her tool box of ointments, syrups, bandages, and instruments to really, truly make it better.  That woman would make you a gingerale-slushy and a couch-bed that could make any flu bearable.

This woman was a soother of sick kids, a comfort to new moms and a support to families in true need of help and encouragement.  She loved working with those kids and she adored caring for newborns and their moms.  When she left her job at the hospital and, just a few years later, began working as an abortion care nurse, I wondered.  Huh, I thought– what a stark contrast to what she was doing before. But I was wrong. Continue reading

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

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

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

“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

It’s August 1st — Is Your Birth Control Co-Pay History?

photo credit: www.wearewomenmarch.net

August 1, 2012 — The date is significant for women and their families throughout the United States.

Today, an important provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) goes into effect.

As of today all new private health insurance plans must cover women’s preventive health services without a co-pay.

What preventive services does this include? 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