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

Where’s the Controversy in Saving Lives?

This week, On the Front Lines offers readers an international perspective on family planning.

On Wednesday, July 11th, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.K. Department for International Development hosted the London Summit on Family Planning, with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.N. Population Fund.

The Summit’s main objectives are to renew global commitments to family planning, make preventive reproductive health initiatives a top priority, increase access to contraceptives and diminish barriers to family planning services for women and girls in the world’s poorest countries. Continue reading

Good News for Mainers — Supreme Court Upholds ACA

Just in time for the July 4th holiday, there was good news coming out of Washington last week!

On June 28, the Supreme Court upheld almost all of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This decision means that tens of millions of Americans who are currently uninsured will have access to comprehensive health insurance coverage, either through Medicaid or private insurance.

Here at the FPA, we’re thrilled with the Supreme Court decision because the ACA includes several provisions that are critical to the reproductive health of Maine women, teens, and young adults.  These include: 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

Hurray for Guys who Take Responsibility!

Today we’re doing a follow-up to last week’s post about emergency contraception(EC).

An astute reader of On the Front Lines kindly pointed out that our description of how EC works doesn’t jibe with a recent NY Times article about scientific evidence that suggests EC doesn’t prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. When I followed up with our Senior Vice President of Program Services, here’s what I learned. Continue reading

Don’t Have Sex — Because You Will Get Pregnant & Die

Coach teaches a sex ed class in the movie "Mean Girls"

Last week, we talked about the high teen pregnancy and STD infection rates in the U.S. compared to other developed countries. It turns out that differing societal attitudes towards teen sexuality is the biggest factor accounting for the huge gap. European parents and other adults are much more accepting of teen sexuality and teens consider it the norm to take precautions when engaging in sexual activity.

Quite different from the “sex is bad” approach so common in this country.

Aside from changing our entire country’s cultural norms around sexuality, what can we do to reduce teen pregnancy and STD infection rates? Continue reading

Why Other Countries “Do It” Better


“In any given society, at any given moment in history, people become sexual the same way they become anything else. Without much reflection, they pick up directions from their social environment.”

~ John H. Gagnon, Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, Stony Brook University

Well said!

Professor Gagnon’s statement speaks to one of my biggest questions:

Why does the U.S. have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates of any developed country? Continue reading

On The Front Lines