In reading the messages that family planning supporters have sent to their state senators and representatives during this legislative session, I’m struck by the many different ways people identify themselves.
The current legislative session has kept the Family Planning Association of Maine and our supporters incredibly busy — communicating with our legislators about bills and budget decisions that will limit access to reproductive health care and reproductive rights for Maine’s women, men, and teens.
From the outset, FPA’s abortion care practice (Harris Institute for Reproductive Health) has had a dual mission: first, to provide the best possible care for Maine women; second, to provide health professionals an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of abortion care.
The official 40 Days for Life campaign comes to an end this Sunday. Then things get back to ‘normal’ at our Augusta health center, with protesters coming only twice a week instead of every day.
During the 40 Days for Life anti-choice protest, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes for us here at the FPA to provide abortion care services.
I don’t mean the medical side of things. The FPA follows the standards of care established by the National Abortion Federation.
I’m talking about the extra factors that abortion care providers have to consider. The key elements that create a supportive environment for patients, medical providers and staff.
It was 1967 and my mom was seventeen years old, alone and scared–navigating an unregulated, underground system of people claiming to be able to help her to end the pregnancy. She had nowhere to go, no one to call, no national hot-line for women considering an abortion or to even get information about what her options might be. All she had was the address of a dirty apartment in a big, unfamiliar city with enough money to get there and back.
I’ve been an abortion provider for about 10 years. Abortion work is many things for me but, at heart, it is a profound privilege and honor to serve the women we do. And I mean to include the young women who come to us as well as women in careers, women with young families, and countless other walks. All these women come, many crossing barriers of the most profound family and community opposition, in order to act on their belief that there is something better for themselves and their families. Something that lies beyond today’s daunting and probably painful procedure, today’s line of yelling protesters, and tomorrow’s social consequences.
Late last week, I spent some time going through written comments from patients who had an abortion at our facility. I was deeply moved by their stories and I’d like to share some of those with you.
Welcome to the Family Planning Association of Maine’s new blog — On the Front Lines. The launch of OTFL on this date is not a random occurrence. We have consciously chosen to start our new blog in conjunction with the “40 Days” event that was launched today just outside the front gates of our Augusta Family Planning Health Center.