Advocacy

 

Maine Family Planning is working for YOUR RIGHTS.  

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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UPCOMING PUBLIC HEARINGS

MAY 2017

Public hearings offer opportunities for ordinary Mainers to advocate in favor of or opposition to policies that impact your daily lives. Feel free to contact Community Organizer Cait Vaughan with questions about any of the below opportunities.

Public Comment on MaineCare Reform: 

The Department of Health & Human Services is proposing harmful changes to MaineCare, a public program intended to provide access to health care for low income people. This comes at a time when many in our state are advocating for MaineCare expansion, and basic health care protections and Medicaid are under attack by Republicans in Congress. Such changes will disproportionately harm poor women and their families. The elimination of retroactive coverage would effectively end the expanded family planning benefit that has allowed MFP to provide entirely free reprodutive health care services to low income Mainers this year. 

 You can read more about the proposals here and view the DHHS full application here

  • The proposed changes include:  Work requirements, premiums, copays for ER visits deemed "inappropriate", charges for missed appointments, asset tests, and ceasing retroactive coverage. 
  • The Center on Budget & Policy Priorities explains how these proposals would violate Medicaid laws.
  • Maine Equal Justice Partners shares their analysis of how these rule changes would cause thousands of Mainers to lose health care access.
  • You can read our blog post on why fighting to protect Medicaid is a feminist issue.
  • Public hearings took place on May 17th & 18th in Portland and Augusta. 
  • You can still submit written comments via email to Policy.DHHS@maine.gov until Thursday, May 25th @ 11:59 pm. 

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BILLS MFP IS TRACKING DURING THE 128th LEGISLATIVE SESSION

We encourage MFP supporters to contact your local lawmakers about these items

  • 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 not yet scheduled)
    • 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.
  • LD  1556, An Act to Protect Children from Prenatal Drug & Alcohol Exposure, a governor's bill presented by Representative Head (Public Hearing occurred on May 8th)
    • MFP Analysis:  The thinking behind this bill runs counter to a growing provider & public consensus that parents struggling with addiction require supports--including mental health services & treatment options--in order to thrive as parents to new children. We oppose this bill, as it criminalizes vulnerable pregnant Mainers and threatens reproductive & bodily autonomy. We advocate for humane & evidence-based solutions to our state's drug crisis, not merely punitive and ineffective measures.
  • LD 327, An Act to Allow a Wrongful Death Cause of Action for the Death of a Viable Fetus, sponsored by Representative Ellie Espling (Public hearing occurred on May 16th) 
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 1267, An Act to Protect Licensing Information of Medical Professionals, sponsored by Senator Katz
    • MFP Analysis:  Abortion care & family planning providers sometimes face hostile, targeted attacks by anti-abortion advocates and vigilantes. We believe in protecting the privacy & safety of such providers and their families.
  • 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/#            

  

Follow us on social media: 

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/FPAMaine?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

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.