Groups to discuss abortion rights in Maine Nov. 15

Nov 06, 2017

Belfast — Maine Family Planning (MFP) and Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights (GRR!) are hosting a community discussion Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the Unitarian Universalist Church from 6 to 8 p.m.

All are welcome to the ‘Thinking Back & Fighting Forward: Abortion in Maine & Beyond’ gathering. It will feature MFP representatives discussing their groundbreaking work to expand health care rights and access across the state and nationwide, with a local GRR! member who will speak about how the abortion rights landscape has shifted from pre-Roe days to now. The discussion will explore intergenerational perspectives on the abortion rights movement in an effort “to educate and inspire,” according to a news release.

Belfast Family Planning nurse practitioner Julie Jenkins, a named plaintiff in a recently filed lawsuit to overturn Maine’s restrictive “physician-only” abortion law, which prohibits nurse practitioners and nurse midwives from giving care well within their scope of practice, will be on hand to discuss how this legal challenge could help Maine women.

“Maine’s burdensome physician-only law has forced me to send away patients in desperate situations, even though I am trained, qualified, and more than willing to provide the care they need,” Jenkins said. “It’s not fair that women are forced to jump through hoops to exercise their legal rights. Getting rid of this law would meaningfully expand abortion access for women across this state and nationwide.”

Local GRR! member Marj Stickler of Belfast will share stories from her family’s history to illustrate how far we’ve come in terms of reproductive rights, and how the fight for access and acceptance spans generations.

“It’s very scary right now to think that this could all be taken away,” says Stickler, who became involved with GRR! following the Women’s March earlier this year.

MFP staffers will also give an overview of MFP’s unique telemedicine abortion program and the newly launched “Meds-by-Mail” program for medication abortions, as well as its training of Maine’s next generation of abortion care providers.

“Maine Family Planning is committed to finding new ways to serve our patients and make it easier for them to access critical health care,” said Leah Coplon, abortion services director for MFP. “Despite threats from all sides, we continue to introduce new methods of abortion care delivery, including through telemedicine — which has made a big difference in our rural state.”

The event is free and open to the public. There will be time for Q&A and open discussion.


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