March 10, 2020

Abortion, Reproductive Justice

In case you haven’t heard us brag about it before, Maine Family Planning is an independent (indie) abortion care provider and we are proud of it! On this Abortion Provider Appreciation Day we wanted to share some reflections from this year’s annual conference hosted by Abortion Care Network (ACN), the only national member-based organization for indies!

ACN provides a rare space where independent providers and our allies can connect and build relationships across our various regions, as well as share the latest on best practices for clinical care, develop analysis of political challenges facing our movement, celebrate victories, and take refuge from abortion stigma that we face in the larger world every day.

This year, Maine Family Planning staff served as panelists in three different sessions, ranging in topics from winning Medicaid coverage for abortion care; centering patients in telehealth interactions; and creating stigma free clinic environments for people who use drugs and those in treatment for substance use disorder.

We were thrilled to see how many clinic staff and allied organizations were excited to learn how the reproductive health and rights movement can better align with the harm reduction movement and institute practices that make all our clinics welcoming places for some of the most criminalized and stigmatized members of our communities.

We also see reflected in the experiences of providers in states like Illinois and New Jersey how indies are innovating to improve the way state Medicaid programs cover abortions and interact with clinics.

It is inspiring to be able to take what we’ve learned and built in our telemedicine abortion program in one of the country’s most rural states and share it with other providers who are constantly trying to innovate how patients access care.

We were blessed by a live performance from artist Viva Ruiz of Thank God For Abortion (stay tuned for a potential appearance in Maine this spring!), and energized by a keynote from writer Lindy West who co-founded Shout Your Abortion. These stigma-busting artists and collective projects serve to remind us that abortion care is moral work, and that honoring bodily autonomy is sacred and profoundly life-changing for so many of our patients.

As we face down a very difficult moment in the Supreme Court, and advocate for state funding to replace gagged Title X funds, and face down protesters every day for 40 days until Good Friday, we still want to center the bravery and compassion that abortion providers show patients every single day, no matter their reason for seeking care, no matter how their procedure is paid for, and no matter what political beliefs they hold. When you come through our doors, you are safe and cared for exactly as you are. We continue to fight each day for better access, more safety, and an end to abortion stigma.

Keep loving and keep fighting!

With Love,
Your friends at MFP

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