April 17, 2019

40 Days, Abortion, Reproductive Justice, Reproductive Rights, Title X

For 40 days in March and April, anti-abortion protesters were outside Maine Family Planning’s clinic in Augusta, peddling lies and propaganda. During this time, our patients and providers were forced daily to drive by gruesome, misleading signs, just to get to work or medical appointments.

The picketers, while small in number, seemed emboldened this year. Perhaps they’re buoyed by the spate of abortion restrictions being considered—and enacted—in states around the country.

Or maybe they’re taking their cues from the Trump-Pence administration, which is kowtowing to the anti-abortion lobby by sabotaging Title X, a robust, effective, bipartisan program that ensures access to sexual and reproductive health care—such as birth control and cancer screenings—for more than 4 million low-income patients annually. (We’re going to court to fight that one.)

In 2019, we chose to fight fear with facts. Over the 40 days, we shared facts and figures on Twitter and Facebook under the hashtag #40Factsfor40Days.

Here’s a round-up. Because the best way to fight ignorance is to be armed with the facts.

The Facts

  1. Maine leads the nation in contraceptive use among folks at risk of unplanned pregnancy.
  2. According to @AbortionCare, indie #abortion clinics collectively provide the majority of abortion care in the United States, serving 3 out of every 5 people who has an abortion.
  3. 1 in 4 women in the United States will have an abortion by the age of 45.
  4. According to @ANSIRH, patients denied a wanted abortion who have to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term have four times greater odds of living below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
  5. A 2018 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that abortion in all forms is a safe and effective form of health care.
  6. Nearly 60 percent of women who get abortions are already parents.
  7. Maine Family Planning serves as a training site for doctors, nurses, med students, social workers, and other medical professionals who want to learn more about abortion care.
  8. During the Obama administration, funding for abstinence-only sex education was shifted toward more comprehensive sex education — and teen pregnancy dropped nationwide by 41 percent.
  9. Maine Family Planning has clinics in: Augusta, Bangor, Belfast, Calais, Damariscotta, Dexter, Ellsworth, Farmington, Fort Kent, Houlton, Lewiston, Machias, Norway, Presque Isle, Rockland, Rumford, Skowhegan, & Waterville Where’s your Maine Family Planning?
  10. All MFP clinics provide contraceptive care; pregnancy options counseling; screening, diagnosis, and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs); breast and pelvic exams; cervical cancer screening (Pap test); abnormal Pap test follow-up; and HIV testing, counseling, and consultations/prescriptions for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis. Patients receive screenings for hypertension, diabetes, and anemia as well as information about sterilization, infertility, pregnancy, immunizations, nutrition, domestic violence, and risk avoidance.
  11. The U.S. abortion rate has reached its lowest level since 1973, but abortion is increasingly concentrated among low-income people.
  12. The National Abortion Federation reported a significant escalation of hostility and targeted activity against abortion providers in 2017.
  13. There are more than 2700 fake health centers in the US — including in Maine.
  14. On March 6, Maine Family Planning, represented by the Center for Reproductive Rightsand Covington & Burling LLP, filed a case in federal court seeking to block the Gag Rule on behalf of Maine patients and providers.
  15. (Bonus fact: The defendants in the case include Diane Foley, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs. Before joining the Trump Administration, Dr. Foley directed the Life Network, which operates two fake clinics in Colorado.)
  16. If the Trump-Pence #TitleX Gag Rule takes effect, MFP would no longer be able to use 17 of our 18 existing, secure, and well-equipped facilities to provide abortion care for Mainers.
  17. According to @Guttmacher, 62 percent of US abortion patients are religiously affiliated.
  18. Six months after being denied an abortion, people had more than three times greater odds of being unemployed than those who were able to access abortion care (according to @ANSIRH‘s Turnaway Study).
  19. According to @KaiserFamFound, nearly half (45 percent) of Americans say they would have difficulty paying a surprise medical bill of $500.
  20. Roughly two in three (64%) voters believe people’s health insurance should cover their reproductive healthcare, including abortion, according to a 2017 poll from Hart Research Associates.
  21. Teen pregnancy in Maine continues to drop, according to the latest Kids Count data book, compiled by @MEChildren. In 2017, 170 ME teens became pregnant, down from 834 in 1992. This is a testament to the effectiveness of comprehensive #sexed and the availability of affordable birth control.
  22. To qualify for Title X funding under the Trump-Pence Gag Rule, MFP would no longer be able to refer patients for an abortion.
  23. MFP provided confidential, compassionate, comprehensive services for 4,546 patients ages 13-19 in FY18.
  24. Maine Family Planning operates the WIC program in Washington and Hancock counties, supporting new mamas and families.
  25. Maine teens can make their own confidential decisions about their bodies.
  26. The 2017 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey revealed that 58% of 12th graders have had sexual intercourse, and 57% of 12th graders reported using a condom the last time they had sexual intercourse.
  27. 7 in 10 Americans support Roe v. Wade.
  28. Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs) like IUDs and implants are more than 99 percent effective at preventing unplanned pregnancy.
  29. Maine ranks 15th (from the top) in US maternal mortality rates.
  30. Maine’s a yes on both of these:

    Providing young people with comprehensive sex ed programs allows them to build a foundation for safe, healthy relationships. But only 24 states require sex ed be taught in schools. Worse, only 10 require it to be medically accurate.

    — Center for Reproductive Rights (@ReproRights) April 15, 2019

  31. Maine is not on this list:

    As part of #BMHW19, we’ve created a state tracker with over 50 bills that have been introduced across the nation to address the Black maternal mortality rate. Don’t see your state on here? Contact your legislators! https://t.co/L9rdaQPaJ6

    — NWLC (@nwlc) April 15, 2019

  32. According to @powertodecide, 97% of US women in need of publicly funded contraception, age 13-44, live in contraceptive deserts—counties in which there is not reasonable access to a health center that offers the full range of birth control methods.
  33. In Maine, 890 women in need live in Piscataquis County, where there is no health center offering the full range of methods.
  34. 95% of people who had abortions felt it was the right decision, both immediately and over 3 years, according to @ANSIRH‘s Turnaway Study.
  35. Maine Family Planning is seeking a preliminary injunction to block the Trump-Pence Gag Rule, parts of which go into effect on May 3.
  36. MFP provided confidential, compassionate, comprehensive services for 4,546 patients ages 13-19 in FY18.
  37. Women denied abortion care are more likely to stay in unhealthy relationships.
  38. Three in four (73%) voters believe that fair wages and decent working conditions, along with access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion, help ensure that women and families can be healthy and live with dignity, according to research from All Above All.
  39. By using a tool available at guttmacher.org, we estimate that providing contraception for Maine Family Planning patients in 2018 prevented 3,928 unintended pregnancies and 1,870 unplanned births; prevented 486 unplanned births after too short an interval; and prevented 243 preterm births.
  40. None of Maine Family Planning’s legal expenses related to our Gag Rule case can be funded with Title X money, which means that in addition to diverting personnel away from their regular duties, we must now find private funding for the Title X defense.

Will you join our fight?