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Mabel Musings

January 27, 2017

Here’s a guide to what’s got our attention this week. If you think we should include an article or update for our community next time, please let us know!

With record-breaking women’s marches across the globe, the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and inauguration of a new president, the week is full of both inspiration and “alternate” facts. We rely on real facts, especially when they educate us on the dozens of harmful proposals lurking, and help us to make informed decisions about policies that affect our health and lives. So, for this week, here are the most pressing issues facing Mabel Wadsworth Center along with a few articles to highlight brave, resilient voices from our community.

Fighting abortion stigma to help reduce the shame and isolation women feel is critically important. This woman’s story highlights how stigmatizing this experience can be, even for someone who’s worked as a reproductive rights advocate and clinic worker.

Constitutional lawyer Kristina Kippins has a poignant piece in Glamour on breaking her silence to share her own abortion story as a woman of color amidst white male politicians less educated on the issues attempting to frame abortion restrictions in the guise of “helping” black women.

Here in Maine, our Woman Power recipient Ruth Lamdan was featured in an article alongside other feminist leaders with a reminder for the younger generation to stay engaged and deepen our activism.

Less than a week into office, President Trump is wreaking havoc on women’s health and rights. Feminist writer and activist Jessica Valenti has a fantastic summary in The Guardian. While it’s terrible news, it’s not surprising that Trump has reinstated the global gag rule. Also known as the “Mexico City” policy, this rule prohibits international aid organizations that provide or promote abortion from receiving any federal funding or foreign aid. Unfortunately, presidents have been doing this since Reagan.  Click here to learn more about Mabel Wadsworth Center’s funding.

Whether you get your health coverage from Obamacare’s Marketplace or not, your health care will be impacted by attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Our friends at Consumers for Affordable Health Care have a helpful list of questions to ask Senator Collins about her so-called “replacement” plan.

As you probably know, Congressional Republicans are also trying to de-fund Planned Parenthood. A former Republican state legislator has an op-ed in the Press Herald with detailed, fact-based reasons for her opposition. While we agree this is a horrendous plan that should be opposed, it’s essential that we continue to talk about the importance of funding for abortion care and not further stigmatize abortion in this debate. It is equally shameful that Congress cut off funding for women’s health services like pap smears and birth control, as it is to refuse to allow federal funds for abortion care as they did in passing H.R. 7, a bill to make the Hyde Amendment permanent and prohibit any public funds or insurance companies from covering abortion care. Now, more than ever, we must call out politicians who fail to connect meaningful abortion access with women’s health. So when you share your concerns about funding for Planned Parenthood with your member of Congress, please be sure to also voice your concerns about H.R. 7 and its discriminatory impact on women of color, women with low income and young women.

The administration’s indication that it may cut Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs that serve people affected by sexual assault and domestic violence and support efforts in prevention is also troubling. According to our friends at Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance, “this funding is a significant support for the Alliance and the services we provide in Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties, to our sister projects across the state, and to a unified response to abuse in our country.”

Trump will announce his Supreme Court nominee soon, likely someone with a record of hostility to women’s health and rights.

Finally, to continue Roe week, we recommend you check out a reading in Bangor this Saturday by author Mira Ptacin, sponsored by the Norumbega Collective. The Peaks Island, Maine-based author describes her own abortion experience in her memoir, Poor Your Soul.

To end on a high note, if you’re feeling helpless or hopeless right now, read this by Amy Hagstrom Miller, the owner of Whole Woman’s Health and a leading advocate for reproductive rights. And then print it out and tape it on your fridge to read it again to be reminded of hope and find strength in our collective voices, resistance, and power.