Member Spotlights 

Family Planning Association of Maine

Augusta, ME

The Family Planning Association of Maine (FPAM) has a history of serving as the state’s largest reproductive rights organization. For over 40 years, FPAM has provided leadership for the citizens of Maine in four key areas: ensuring affordable, high-quality reproductive health care services statewide; providing abortion care services and training for residents and physicians; building a statewide voice for family planning; and developing evidence-based programs that prevent unintended pregnancy. Title X and the state’s Bureau of Health provide the majority of funding for Maine’s family planning system.

FPAM is the sole Title X agency in Maine, funding a network of six Title X delegates that provide services at 46 health centers. FPAM contracts with community-based organizations, school-based health centers, FQHCs, and public health organizations to ensure that there are family planning and sexual health services available in every county in Maine. Services are confidential and offered on a sliding fee scale, and include comprehensive sexual health education, gynecological exams, colposcopies, family planning, pregnancy testing and options counseling, emergency contraception, male services, STD and HIV testing and treatment, screenings for reproductive cancers, and first-trimester medication and aspiration abortion services.

In 2011, health care services provided by FPAM reached 27,208 Maine residents, 25,407 females and 2,701 males. Seventy-six percent of those served were between the ages of 15-29, with the largest group ages 20-24. The vast majority of family planning clients are uninsured and do not qualify for MaineCare (Maine’s Medicaid program). However, anyone, regardless of income, can receive services at an FPAM health center. Eighty-two percent of patients have incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level ($21,780 for an individual in 2011) and receive services at a discounted rate, and 29% of patients receive services at no cost.

Half of all sexually active Maine teens have sought counseling and services from a family planning health center, and many of these young people continue to use FPAM’s trusted services through adulthood. In 2011, 6,816 teens were provided the care they needed to prevent unintended pregnancy and the spread of STDs. Over 75% of teen clients involved a parent in their decision to come to a family planning health center. Maine now has the seventh-lowest teen birth rate and the third-lowest teen pregnancy rate. In the last decade, Maine’s teen pregnancy rate has dropped by 27% - one of the most dramatic improvements in the country.

According to FPAM President and CEO George Hill, last year Maine’s family planning health care system demonstrated what researchers believe to be the highest documented quality of care of any family planning program in the country. Contraceptive services provided at family planning health centers in Maine helped women avoid 2,500 births and 2,300 abortions for a cost savings of $12.54 million in 2008 alone.1 In the absence of Title X-supported family planning services and birth control, the number of abortions in Maine would be 92% higher and the teen pregnancy rate would be 103% higher.2

In the fall of 2010, FPAM received funding to hire a full-time online communication specialist, which helped skyrocket the organization’s online presence, particularly on Twitter and Facebook, drawing new supporters and re-engaging long-time supporters to increase advocacy efforts. The organization’s blog has kept more than 2,000 followers informed about FPAM’s work and has advanced conversations about sexuality, education, reproductive health, teen sexuality, access to abortion care, and the many reasons why family planning is critical to the health of Maine women, men, and their families. FPAM staff is gratified by the expanded online efforts and the interactions they have had with their supporters. This new dialogue about family planning in Maine has given FPAM staff an opportunity to highlight the organization’s programs on a more in-depth level. In the coming year, FPAM will be developing a unique interactive sexual health education website targeting teens.

The organization has also received a grant to create a clinical training program that specifically addresses lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) health issues. As part of the grant, FPAM will implement nationally recognized, best-practice medical protocols to provide hormone therapy and other necessary medical care for transgender individuals who wish to undergo medical gender transition. “This project is an important step forward in FPAM’s continuing effort to advance our mission to ensure that all Mainers have access to high quality affordable reproductive and sexual health care,” said Hill.3 In addition, FPAM makes it a priority to provide responsive and caring health services, and partners with several local and national advocacy groups to help prevent inter-personal violence. FPAM is one of 10 sites chosen nationally by Futures Without Violence to strengthen a community response to inter-personal violence.

By far, FPAM's greatest recent victory in this climate of drastic state budget cuts was in preserving family planning funding. Through testimony and many private meetings with lawmakers throughout the legislative session, FPAM fought to maintain adequate funding for Maine's core family planning health services—and it won. As a result, Maine women, men, and teens can remain secure in their ability to access affordable reproductive health care. In the final hours of budget negotiations, Maine's Legislature restored more than $400,000 of proposed cuts recommended by the state administration. By doing so, they helped FPAM keep its health centers open. Access to abortion care faced additional challenges in Maine over the last year, with an increased number of antichoice bills coming before the state legislature. However, so far FPAM has helped defeat proposals for 24-hour waiting periods, mandatory parental involvement, scripted counseling, and legislation seeking to establish fetal rights. Despite these challenges, FPAM and its supporters continue their relentless efforts to uphold Maine's prochoice, pro-family planning legacy.

1 Guttmacher Institute, State Facts About Title X And Family Planning: Maine, 2011, available at http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/title-X/pdf/ME.pdf.
2 Ibid.
3 Family Planning Association of Maine, “Family Planning Association of Maine Awarded Grant to Expand Transgender Health Services,” press release, February 10, 2012.

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Visit the Family Planning Association of Maine on the web at:

http://www.mainefamilyplanning.org/

 

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National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association

1025 Vermont Ave. NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-293-3114  |  info@nfprha.org

© 2011 National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association