On Thursday, the Guttmacher Institute released a new analysis published in the American Journal of Public Health, giving insight into US abortion trends.
The data is fascinating and Maine Family Planning views it as a clarion call to continue and expand the work we’re doing in our clinics, in court, and in our communities.
The report from Guttmacher shows an overall decline in the US abortion rate between 2008-2014. Despite the 25 percent decline, abortion is still a common procedure in this country; one in four American women will have an abortion by age 45. Deep disparities remain among different demographic groups, with abortion increasingly concentrated among poor women and a long history of racism and discrimination contributing to differences in the abortion rate according to race and ethnicity.
These findings underscore the important work Maine Family Planning is doing to increase contraceptive use and abortion access around the state, as well as how much is at stake amid political attacks on reproductive health care nationwide. We see a declining abortion rate as a victory only if it is rooted in advances in comprehensive, affordable reproductive health care and the political and social conditions to support reproductive self-determination for everyone. Unfortunately, at least some of the recent decline can be attributed to politically-motivated & medically unnecessary state-level abortion restrictions that prevent women in many states from accessing care when they need it. Additionally, it’s clear that quality health care services remain financially out of reach for some Americans, rendering them unable to effectively plan pregnancies. As the hostile Trump administration continues its assault on health care, we fear these factors will only become more pronounced.
Our focus remains on empowering women to avoid unintended pregnancies via highly effective contraceptive methods, to be able to access abortion when they need to, and to make decisions based on their own visions of the families they want. Maine Family Planning is battling on many fronts to achieve full access to reproductive freedom: From offering comprehensive prevention programming in schools and long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) in our clinics; to providing innovative abortion care via telemedicine; to fighting in court to expand Medicaid coverage for abortions and overturn Maine’s burdensome law prohibiting nurse practitioners from providing abortion; to working with like-minded groups on the upcoming Yes on 2 vote to make Maine the first state to expand Medicaid by referendum. Guttmacher’s latest statistics prove that our work remains vital and necessary.
Note: During the 40 Days of protests at our Augusta health center, we are giving away a 4000 Years for Choice poster each week. Everyone who posts a comment on our blog during these six weeks will be entered into the weekly poster drawings.
As the 40 Days protests continue, I’ve been comparing this year’s picketers to those we had last year. So far, they seem to have toned down the rhetoric on their signage. (Of course, we’re only one week into the 40 days and things could change.)
The strategies may change but the players — and their aims — are the same. They stand at our gates, hoping to bully our clients into changing their minds about a very personal decision. Last year I wrote about the 40 Days signage spreading lies about abortion care.
This week, I’m writing about one particular sign that advertises Open Arms, a crisis pregnancy center (CPC) located in Augusta. It sounds nice, doesn’t it? Open Arms. Continue reading
These are a few of my favorites blogs…
Writing a weekly blog takes commitment and guts in equal parts. You have to spend two or three times as much time reading and researching as you do writing. And you’ve got to believe you have something worth writing about, something people want to read.
Writing On the Front Lines for the FPA is a piece of cake in terms of having plenty of interesting material. The work of providing reproductive health care and protecting reproductive rights in Maine is multi-layered and varied. Basically, it’s fabulous material for a writer.
Staying on top of the necessary reading and research — now, that’s another story. I’ll be the first to admit that some weeks it’s quite the challenge.
Luckily, there are some amazing people writing about reproductive rights and reproductive health care. I depend on my fellow bloggers for ideas and inspiration.
As my holiday gift to you, I’m sharing a sampling of my favorite blogs. Enjoy! Continue reading
As a woman, do you consider yourself above average?
I mean, in terms of your reproductive life span? Don’t know what I’m talking about? That’s okay, I’ll explain later.
First I want to share some great news. Continue reading
Last week, I wrote about reproductive coercion and the impact it has on women’s health. I mentioned that knowing about this issue can change the way we approach STD and pregnancy prevention work. As promised, here’s a follow-up article about Project Connect: A Coordinated Public Health Initiative to Prevent Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Project Connect has lots of moving parts and I think all of them are terribly exciting. For me, the most wonderful thing about this project is the way it approaches domestic and sexual violence as reproductive health issues. The best way to explain what I mean is to give you a couple of scenarios. Continue reading
With each passing month I work at the FPA, I gain new knowledge of and insights into the lives of women and teen girls. My learning for this month is related to the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault. I am not a stranger to these two facts of life. In my previous work experience, I had many opportunities to work closely with the people and agencies dealing directly with women impacted by both.
I recently met with FPA staff member Kini Tinkham who serves as Program Director of Project Connect. And, as often happens, I learned way more than I expected to.
Project Connect is an FPA-led collaboration of providers and advocates from domestic violence and sexual assault organizations, family planning and school-based health centers, and minority organizations. Now in its third year, Project Connect continues to focus on the goal of creating a coordinated community response to domestic violence and sexual assault, including reproductive coercion.
Here’s where my learning curve banked steeply upward. Reproductive coercion? I knew what the words meant but I didn’t have a full understanding of the scope of the problem and its impact on women’s health. This seemed like a topic worth sharing with our readers. I hope you agree. Continue reading