Advocacy

 

Check this page regularly for updates on bills & issues of public policy that we are tracking & advocating around, as well as ways to take action! Maine Family Planning utilizes a Reproductive Justice framework for our legislative, advocacy & organizing work, which means we engage on issues and policies that relate--in positive and negative ways--to the following three core principles of Reproductive Justice:

1) The right to not have children.

2) The right to have children.

3) The right to parent children in healthy & safe environments.

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8.14.17 MFP STATEMENT ON VIOLENCE IN CHARLOTTESVILLE

Maine Family Planning is appalled by the latest violent actions of white supremacists in Charlottesville.  We extend deepest condolences to those grieving family and friends, and caring for the injured.  We join people everywhere in mourning and recommitting to action against white supremacist terror.

We are compelled to respond to the white mob’s cry as it descended on Charlottesville:  You will not replace us. Underpinning this chant is a fear of shifting demographics, and anger about institutional power changing hands. Projections that white Americans will be a minority by mid-century are a primary concern for organized white supremacists. Thus, all women’s reproductive lives become a key site for rhetorical, legislative, and vigilante battles. This movement wants to enlist white women and their bodies in the project of furthering an imaginary, ‘superior’ white race; they also want to perpetuate forced sterilization and systemic attacks on Black and Brown women and families. With leaders appearing to be both against abortion in the case of white women and pro-abortion and sterilization in the case of Women of Color, reproductive rights are in the crosshairs of a domestic terrorist movement.  We cannot be silent about our unique responsibility as an abortion care provider and reproductive justice advocates.

MFP unequivocally expresses our commitment to honoring women’s control over their reproductive lives as one facet of the complex work racial justice requires. Simultaneously, we acknowledge population control schemes and eugenics projects have been carried out in the name of ‘medical progress’. We condemn such coercive practices and commit to building trust with Black and Brown communities. We trust women to make decisions about pregnancy aligned with their beliefs and circumstances, and we always engage in informed consent practices during contraceptive and abortion counseling.

Charlottesville is not an aberration. Black families have buried many loved ones slain by police and vigilantes with impunity. Black communities bear the brunt of policies leading to mass incarceration, low wages, limited access to health care (including abortion), and poor maternal health. There is no reproductive justice until we build a world where communities of color can thrive. We do plan to replace hate-fueled white supremacists, and drown out their chants with demands for reproductive justice. 

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House Committee Rejects Amendments to Save Title X & TPP -- Proposal Moves onto the Senate

Last week, the full house appropriations Committee voted to pass the FY 2018 Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations bill. This bill proposes eliminating all funding for Title X, the National Family Planning program, and Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program. Amendments proposed to save these crucial health programs failed in the House. Now it moves onto the Senate, where they are expected to take up their version of the bill post-August recess. 

Maine Family Planning is the state's Title X grantee, and Title X federal funding allows us to provide quality, compassionate sexual & reproductive health care services to more than 20,000Mainers every year, including:
Eliminating Title X funding will have devastating public health effects for Mainers, especially for low-income women and teens. 

The current administration is seeking to return to "abstinence-only" education, moving funding to "sexual risk avoidance" programs & away from comprehensive, evidence-based approaches. Maine's teen pregnancy rate has declined over the past decade-- no doubt a reflection of our state law requiring comprehensive sexual education in schools; evidence-based sex education programming like MFP's Best Practices curriculum; and far-reaching access to 20+ Title X family planning clinics across the state, which remove barriers to contraceptive use.

We need YOU to contact Senators King and Collins and let them know about the positive impact these programs have on your communities. 
  • Please urge both Senators to protect the current level of funding for TPP & opposeall cuts to Title X. 
  • Ask both Senators to communicate the benefits of Title X & evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs to their fellow Senators.
  • Thank Susan Collins for her opposition to destructive efforts to repeal the ACA & slash Medicaid, and encourage her to continue supporting access to reproductive health care.
For Senator Collins:
Augusta:622-8414
Bangor: 945-0417
Biddeford: 283-1101
Caribou: 493-7873
Lewiston: 784-6969
Portland: 780-3575

For Senator King:
Augusta: 622-8292
Bangor: 945-8000
Presque Isle: 764-5124
Scarborough: 883-1588
Maine toll free: (800) 432-1599


If you have a testimony about a time when a Maine Family Planning clinic made a difference in your health and life, you can share it here. These stories help us to educate the public on why protecting Title X means protecting & advancing the health of Maine people. 

 

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BILLS FROM 128TH LEGISLATIVE SESSION

UPDATE 7/20:  This bill is DEFEATED!

  • LD 327, An Act to Allow a Wrongful Death Cause of Action for the Death of a Viable Fetus, sponsored by Representative Ellie Espling 
    • MFP Analysis:  This is essentially a "fetal personhood" bill that opens the door to granting fetuses rights & legal causes of action. We oppose this bill on the grounds that it threatens abortion rights and reproductive autonomy of pregnant people; places unnecessary barriers between pregnant people seeking prenatal care & providers trying to manage enormous libaility; and is aligned with a broad social agenda led by anti-abortion activists to curtail reproductive freedom.

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UPDATE:  This bill became law without the governor's signature! An important victory for contraceptive access in our state!

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UPDATE: This bill is DEFEATED!

    • MFP Analysis:  LD 1556 would require prenatal care providers to report patients to child protective services if the patient is dealing with substance abuse. Medical experts on women’s health, drug treatment, and neonatal care all say that this bill would deter women from getting much-needed prenatal care and drug treatment, leading to more unhealthy pregnancies and more unhealthy babies.

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UPDATE:  This bill is DEFEATED!

  • LD  1607, An Act to Prioritize Family Members as Surrogates for Medical Decisions, a governor's bill presented by Representative Hawke of Boothbay Harbor (Public hearing occurred; committee has not yet voted)
    • MFP Analysis:  This bill seeks to undermine the medical decision-making power of adult couples who are not married. The effects would be felt especially hard by LGBTQ+ Mainers. MFP opposes passage of this bill on the grounds that it targets the sexual and gender autonomy of Maine people, and prioritizes legal marriage and blood relation over other forms of coupling & family-making.

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UPDATE: This bill is DEFEATED!

  • LD 745, An Act to Prohibit Female Genital Mutilation, sponsored by Representative Sirocki (Public hearing already occurred)
    • MFP Analysis:  We are working with partners--the ACLU of Maine and the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine--to monitor how this bill is rolled out. We are concerned about choices to further criminalize immigrant populations in Maine, and would like to see provisions for public outreach & education efforts around this issue.

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  • LD 1063, An Act to Protect Substance-Exposed Infants, sponsored by Representative Hamman
    • MFP Analysis:  We want to make sure that parents are given all the resources they need--including addiction treament--in order to keep families together, whole, and healthy. We believe our concerns for infant & child well-being are best reflected in policies that meet the needs of parents as well.
  • LD 1475, An Act to Reduce Child Poverty by Investing in the Future of Maine Families, sponsored by Speaker Gideon (Public Hearing occurred on May 8th)
    • MFP Analysis: We know that systemic poverty is a fundamental barrier to reproductive freedom & raising healthy, whole families. We encourage MFP supporters to attend the public hearing and/or contact your local legislators to voice your support for this important step toward bringing crucial resources to the most economically vulnerable members of our communities.
    • This bill is a priority of the Alliance for Maine Women, of which MFP is a proud member, and you can learn more about it by reading this helpful analysis put together by Alliance member organization, Maine Equal Justice Partners. 

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WHAT'S GOING ON WITH TITLE X  FAMILY PLANNING FUNDING?

Thursday, March 30, 2017: Vice President Mike Pence made the following statement at the White House Panel on Women’s Empowerment, “President Trump and our administration are going to work tirelessly to empower women to be able to climb the ladder of opportunity and contribute even more to America’s success in the years ahead. And I know, under President Trump’s leadership, the future for our country and the future for American women is brighter than ever before.”

Less than 24 hours later, the Vice President travelled to the Senate, took his seat as the President of the Senate and cast the vote that broke the tie to allow states to discriminate against abortion providers in distributing federal family planning funds.

Why was the vote so close, when Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate? Because two Republicans, Maine’s own Senator Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, broke ranks “to empower women to be able to climb the ladder of opportunity” by making it possible for women to control their reproductive lives by choosing their reproductive health provider of choice.

The pressure to vote the party line on this matter must have been extraordinary and Maine Family Planning thanks Senator Collins for her principled vote. We are equally grateful to Senator Angus King and Representative Chellie Pingree for their votes in support of Maine women and teens.

What does this mean for Maine?

With this vote, Congress has allowed states that administer the federal family planning program to discriminate against family planning providers that also provide abortion services. In Maine, however, our state government does not play a role in deciding how federal family planning funds are distributed. Instead, these funds are granted directly to Maine Family Planning, a private not for profit organization, for the maintenance of a statewide family planning system. As the statewide administrator of the federal Title X family planning program, Maine Family Planning will continue to use those funds to provide high quality family planning services, and to support providers who meet the rigorous federal standards for delivery of such services – including our colleagues at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. 

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Call your local representatives:

https://legislature.maine.gov/house/townlist.htm

http://legislature.maine.gov/senate/find-your-state-senator/9392

https://www.collins.senate.gov/

http://www.king.senate.gov/

https://poliquin.house.gov/

https://pingree.house.gov/

Use this tool to localize your calls:  https://5calls.org/#            

  

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Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/MaineFamilyPlanning/

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Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/maine_family_planning/

Join the FB group Maine:  Stand Up! Be Heard!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/StandupBeheardMaine/

 

Now is the time:  Be Bold.